Managing Your Team while Employees are On Leave

ManagementNovember 17, 2022 10:00

The end of the year is fast approaching! Your team will be submitting their annual leave requests before 2022 draws to a close. It is good that your employees go on their well-deserved break and recharge their batteries. Vacations significantly reduce the risk of burnout in your employees—and increase their productivity and efficacy when they return.

Nonetheless, you may find it a great challenge to manage your team’s vacations, especially if you lead a lean team with minimal to no redundancies. It is especially daunting during the holiday seasons when more employees are likely to take time off in the same week. Here are some tips for managing your team while several employees are on leave:

Tips for managing your team while employees are on leave

First, maintain open channels of communication between you and your employees. Encourage your employees to inform you about their vacation plans and submit their leave requests at least one month in advance—the earlier, the better. This will give you ample lead time in managing your team’s workflow.

Furthermore, as soon as you know that one employee is going on leave, be sure to communicate this to the rest of the team. If your team has a shared calendar, note down leave dates there so that everyone is aware when a team member is away.

Second, plan ahead and delegate critical tasks. Carefully study your team’s workload to see if there is adequate coverage of essential responsibilities. The employee going on leave should ideally complete any action items which can be done beforehand.

As for any critical tasks that need to be completed while that employee is away, delegate them to other team members in advance. This will help to ensure that work can continue uninterrupted—and that all deadlines are met without a hitch.

Third, leverage technology to stay organised. With some employees away on leave, it is more important than ever to manage the moving parts of your team projects well. There are a plethora of online tools available for you to utilise. For instance, project management software and online collaboration tools can enhance your team’s workflow such that team members can continue where their colleague left off.

Fourth, set proper boundaries with your employees on leave to uphold work-life balance. Resist the temptation as much as possible to call them regarding work-related matters when they are away.

Also, you can convey a clear message to your team that employees on leave should only be activated in case of a dire emergency—where their expertise is needed and no one else is able to step up. That way, your employees will be able to disconnect from work and fully unwind during their vacation. By encouraging your employees to thoroughly enjoy their time off, you will build goodwill with your team.

Fifth, do not forget to keep your employees in the loop asynchronously. CC your employees on leave in relevant email threads so as to minimise gaps in their understanding. When they eventually return, bring them up to speed on the latest occurrences within the company, especially key events which will impact their work. Your employees can hit the ground running after receiving status updates from you about your team projects.

While you advocate for your team to unwind during vacations, you require a break from work as well. Even managers need some time off to relax and recharge—never feel guilty for going away! If you find that your team is understaffed and stretched too thinly, you may want to look into hiring new employees.

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