How to Optimize Holiday Scheduling

Emily Kho
October 20, 2023

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it comes the anticipation of festive celebrations, family gatherings, and much-needed breaks. For many employees, this time of year signifies a chance to unwind and spend quality time with loved ones. 

In this article, we'll explore effective strategies for businesses to manage the surge in time-off requests during the festive season. From embracing automated scheduling platforms to innovative time-off request systems, discover how to ensure seamless operations while prioritizing employee well-being.

Time-Off Requests During the Holidays

Recognizing the importance of a healthy work-life balance, especially during the holidays, is crucial for both employers and employees. Part of that means paying attention to scheduling secrets and trends.

According to data from KayaPush, in December 2022, a staggering 46% of time off requests were made for the period between December 23 and December 31, with December 24th witnessing the highest number of requests for the entire month. 

In 2022, December had the third most time off requests after August and July, respectively. July and August led the year with 23% of time off requests combined, while December followed closely, accounting for 11% of the annual requests. 

Optimizing Holiday Scheduling

With such high demand for time off, how can businesses ensure smooth operations and maintain a happy workforce? Let's delve into some effective strategies for optimal holiday scheduling.

1. Embrace Automated Scheduling Platforms

In today's digital age, relying on manual methods for scheduling can be cumbersome and inefficient. Automated scheduling platforms can be game-changers, equipped with features like:

  • Sales forecasting
  • Self-serve time off requests
  • Shift swaps
  • Compliance alerts

These platforms not only streamline the scheduling process but also ensure that businesses are well-prepared to handle the holiday rush. They also help to reduce the chances of human error, ensuring that shifts are allocated fairly and efficiently.

A screenshot of a dispensary scheduling platform, which simplifies holiday scheduling.

2. Set Clear Deadlines for Time-Off Requests

Having a clear communication strategy is vital. Informing employees about the cut-off dates for holiday requests ensures transparency and allows them to plan their holidays in advance. This proactive approach reduces confusion and last-minute scrambles.

3. Anticipate and Prepare for Increased Demand

The holiday season often brings boosted sales and foot traffic. Using data, like the insights from KayaPush, can help businesses anticipate the surge, and staff their operations accordingly. 

Remember, being understaffed can lead to overworked employees and unsatisfied customers. Conversely, overstaffing can lead to increased operational costs. Striking the right balance is key.

A dispensary customer is purchasing cannabis during the holiday season.

4. Consider Hiring Temporary Workers

Temporary or seasonal hires can be a great way to manage the increased holiday workload. They can fill in for regular employees on leave and ensure business operations run smoothly. Additionally, temporary workers bring fresh perspectives and can be a valuable asset during peak times.

5. Implement a First-Come, First-Served Policy

A first-come, first-served policy for holiday time-off requests is a transparent and equitable approach that many businesses adopt. This method ensures fairness by granting requests based on the order they are received. By doing so, employees are encouraged to plan ahead and submit their requests early, fostering a culture of responsibility and foresight. 

Additionally, this policy can reduce the administrative burden on HR and management, as decisions are based on a clear and predefined order, eliminating the need for subjective judgment calls.

6. Explore Raffle-Based Time Off Requests

For peak holiday dates, where the demand for time off might exceed the number of available slots, a raffle system can be an innovative solution. Employees interested in taking specific days off can enter the raffle, and winners are granted their preferred time off. 

This system ensures that everyone has an equal chance of getting their desired dates, adding an element of excitement and fairness to the time-off request process. It also prevents feelings of favoritism or bias, as the selection is based purely on chance. 

To make it even more engaging, businesses can hold a live raffle draw, turning it into a fun event that employees can look forward to.

An employee taking their raffle tickets for the holiday scheduling time-off request raffle.

7. Offer Monetary Incentives

Financial rewards can be a significant motivator, especially during the holiday season when many employees might be hesitant to work due to personal commitments. Offering monetary incentives can be a win-win for both businesses and employees. 

For businesses, it ensures that staffing needs are met, and for employees, it provides an added bonus for working during peak times. Here are some ideas for monetary incentives:

  • Holiday Bonuses: Offer a special holiday bonus to employees who choose to work during the season's busiest days. This could be a fixed amount or a percentage of their regular pay.
  • Higher Hourly Rates: Increase the hourly pay rate for those working on specific high-demand days, such as Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.
  • Gift Cards: Offer gift cards to popular retailers or restaurants as a token of appreciation. This can be especially appealing during the holiday shopping season.

By implementing these monetary incentives, businesses can motivate employees to take up shifts, ensuring that operations run smoothly and customer demands are met. It's essential, however, to communicate these incentives clearly and ensure that they are distributed fairly to maintain trust and morale among the workforce.

Wrapping Up Holiday Schedules

The holiday season, while joyous, can be a challenging time for businesses. However, with the right strategies and tools in place, it's possible to ensure seamless operations while also prioritizing the well-being of employees. 

Incorporating these holiday scheduling tips can significantly ease the challenges faced during the festive season. And, for businesses looking to optimize their scheduling processes further, KayaPush offers a range of scheduling features tailored to meet diverse needs. From automated scheduling to insightful analytics, KayaPush ensures that businesses are always a step ahead.

If you're keen to explore KayaPush’s innovative scheduling solutions, visit our Scheduling Page or Book a Demo today!

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October 2023


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