It’s that time of year again, when your employees will be taking time off to enjoy some R&R and vacation with their families. From a business perspective, managing employee time-off requests can be a logistical challenge. How can you grant everyone their fair share of down time while ensuring that there’s no disruption to your customers? Here are a few expert tips for managing time-off requests in a way that keeps your property management company running like a well-oiled machine.
Define and establish rules
The most important components of a solid time-off policy are transparency and clarity of process. Everyone who works for your property management company – from ownership to management to employees – should be familiar with the rules surrounding time-off requests. This helps avoid miscommunications and conflict.
These basic rules typically include:
- How time-off requests should be submitted
- When employees can request time off
- When employees cannot request time off (i.e. scheduled events)
- How far in advance a time-off request should be submitted
- How often time-off requests can be made
- How much time-off is allowed in a certain period (i.e. no more than 2 weeks at a time)
- Considerations that are specific to your business
Establish a policy for overlapping requests
There will occasionally be times when more than one employee requests the same dates off. Depending on the size of your property management company, you may or may not be able to accommodate overlapping requests. For times when you cannot or there are too many matching requests to be able to approve them all, you’ll want a defined policy in place for how to proceed fairly.
Common policies for overlapping time-off requests include:
- First come, first served
- Reason for the request
- Management discretion
Create a form
When it comes to managing time-off requests, organization is key. When you don’t have a formal request process in place, you risk letting things slip through the cracks which could leave you high and dry with too many people off at once. Create a form for everyone to use when requesting time off and make it mandatory. This will help you keep track of everything, avoid confusion and manage the schedule much more effectively. If you need help with this, here’s a sample template you can use.
Make it easy
If your employees have to jump through hoops to request a day off, they’re going to get frustrated and burn out pretty quickly which can lead to costly turnover for your property management company. To avoid this, make the process easy and straightforward. If your policy dictates that vacation request forms must be handed to a manager, make sure managers are always available. And in instances in which they’re not, have a backup policy, such as allowing requests to be placed in the manager’s inbox. Ideally, electronic submissions work best because they’re instant, flexible and able to be tracked.
Plan for emergencies
Like it or not, emergencies happen, which means there will be situations in which an employee must unexpectedly take time away from work. Having a contingency plan for situations such as these can help minimize business disruption and ensure that your property management customers remain happy and well-served, regardless of your staffing situation. For instance, working with a staffing agency that can send over qualified temporary workers can help when you’re in a pinch.
Do what’s best for your business
You want to do right by your employees, but at the end of the day, your business needs must come first. That means it’s up to you to make sure the right people are working at the right time so that your customers are adequately served. As such, your employees should be well aware of this caveat. Treat them well and instill a good company culture, and they’ll be happy to work with you and make sacrifices when necessary.
What about you? What time-off policies do you have in place in your property management company? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.