7 ways to ensure you won’t be short-staffed over the holidays

The holiday season can be a tricky one for bosses and management to navigate. Many employees purposefully save a lot of their PTO for December so they can go on a fabulous vacation for some much-needed R&R before returning to their everyday work duties.

Others will come up with any excuse they can to have a day or set of days off that can be problematic for the company overall if they’re not there. There’s also the ones who call in sick when they are really out and about doing last minute shopping for their friends and family, employees who request half days for something personal, etc. 

Being short-staffed is never easy unless you and your tam can handle the proper workload for the ones who are absent. Otherwise it usually results in staying late without extra pay, doing double the work your employees usually do and even having to perform tasks and complete assignments that weren’t yours in the first place (or even beneath you based on where you’re at in your career).

Need help in alleviating this kind of stress in the years to come? Here are 7 ways to ensure you won’t be short-staffed for the holiday season.

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. Get the stuff done that needs to be taken care of ASAP. Start with high-priority assignments and meetings. Figure you’re in sales as an example. Have a meeting with a prson you think could spend a lot of money on your company that’s been impossible to get for months? Make sure you or your employee gets ahold of them asap and has everything in place for them to close the deal should they be taking PTO in the upcoming days or weeks. Then move to medium priority duties and so on and so forth. Which leads me to my next point… 

Ensure Essential Work Deadlines. Procrastination should be the furthest thing from people’s minds who want to take PTO before end of year. Make sure that whatever they are working on is done properly and correctly before quitting time so that you don’t have to deal with it should problems arise.

Set a Deadline for PTO. This is usually a task Human Resources takes care of in the form of a massive email sent to you and your entire company but it’s important to have some kind of input in the matter. Make sure that your employees let you know by a certain date about the time off they need, particularly weeks or months before things get crazy, so you know who will be there and who won’t. 

Contact Staffing Agency. There are several kinds of staffing agencies out there who can fill in the holes other employees leave should they take time during the holiday season. Seasonal employees are happy to be working again, especially with how rough COVID has been in the professional world this year, and they are eager to take on someone else’s workload should they meet the requirements ahead of time.

Take Necessary Breaks. In other words don’t be overwhelmed should you run into an issue with being short-staffed. Make sure you and your employees take necessary breaks during those difficult days so that you aren’t banging your head against the door, losing your cool or making your anxiety spike. None of that should be necessary regardless of the work environment that you’re in.

Communication is Key. There’s a great deal of frustration regarding being short-staffed. As mentioned above it can be something that happens unexpectedly if deadlines aren’t met or if one or more of your employees pulls a fast one on you. That doesn’t mean the atmosphere in the office should be negative just because of this temporary situation. Make sure to maintain positive communication with your staff so they feel comfortable before taking this time off.

Stay Positive. It’s going to be ok, insert manager name here! Again being short-staffed during the holiday season is temporary and if you take the necessary steps listed above then your positive attitude while shine through the weeks leading into what will hopefully be a much better 2021 compared to the insane hurdles we had to face in 2020.