1. Find the right balance
Summer holidays may be the highlight of the year for any employees heading off on their travels. But unless you manage their absence carefully, it can really stretch resources. Besides covering individual workloads, you have to be sure you’re not putting too much pressure on those who are left behind – or stress levels will soon start to rise.
Rather than seeing annual leave as a problem, think of it as an opportunity to teach someone new skills. As long as you talk the options through with your team, you’ll probably find they’re receptive to new opportunities and learning new skills. And with the right support and encouragement, they’re more likely to view it as career development than extra work!
2. Be flexible
When your employees book their annual leave, don’t assume they’re planning a stress-free break. They could just as easily be taking time off for medical reasons or because they have no childcare cover over the school holidays. So it’s always worth talking to them about their plans.
If they’re struggling, you may be able to help by letting them take time off for doctors’ appointments or allowing them to work from home to fit in with childcare. As long as the work gets done, a little bit of flexibility goes a long way.
It may seem trivial, but if your employees are still answering emails and making work phone calls while on leave, they’re probably not getting the rest and relaxation they need. If you want them to come back refreshed, encourage them to switch off their phones altogether and focus on enjoying their holiday. And remember to lead by example, because if they know you’re sending emails from the beach, they may feel obliged to do the same!
4. Make yourself available
After a week or two away, it isn’t easy for people to pick up where they left off – especially if they’re having to sift through outdated emails and messages. Rather than letting your employees struggle through on their own, you can save a lot of time and effort by arranging a face-to-face debrief. As well as providing valuable business updates, it would give you an opportunity to check they had a stress-free break and that they’re ready to focus on work again.
5. Manage the post-holiday blues
It’s not unusual for employees to feel a little down after coming back from holiday, so do try and give them time to adapt. Realistically, they’re probably just tired, jetlagged or trying to catch up on what they’ve missed.
In most cases, the post-holiday blues won’t last more than a few days, but if a low mood persists in certain individuals, it’s definitely worth a quick chat. Taking the time to talk through any problems is often one of the best ways to get employees back on track. And if there are any underlying issues, it also gives you a chance to offer the necessary help, support and advice.
Remember, one of the main reasons people get stressed during the summer months is that their routines are interrupted – both at home and work. Helping them get away with a good feeling that their work is covered, and back again into the workday after annual leave, can
This article has been written in collaboration with Bupa, one of Elect’s insurance providers. It is for information only and is not specific advice.