vacation time

Filling the Gap: 3 Ways to Cope When Employees Take Vacation

Posted by Stacey Papp

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer—a long weekend filled with picnics, parades, and hopefully lots of sunshine. It also means that your employees will be taking time vacation time. 


Functioning with a skeleton crew over holidays isn’t easy. Even though your team wants (and needs!) some days away from work, the world keeps on turning. Customers still will be calling about wasp nests that need removal. They’ll want their landscaping in tip-top shape before their Monday afternoon cookouts. And they won’t want to hear that your business can’t help because it’s understaffed.

So what’s a business owner to do? Here are three ways you can fill the gaps when your employees take time vacation time.


1. Learn from the past. Unlike a major storm or sick time, holidays are a predictable disruption. Start planning early and learn from previous years. Keep track of how many employees you actually needed so that you don’t end up overstaffed if your business gets a little lighter over long weekends. Fleet tracking software can help you record how many drivers worked and how many jobs they did so you can analyze patterns and find a good fit for the future. 

2. Leave room in the budget. You may have to pay overtime to the employees who work the holiday in order to cover all the shifts. Plan ahead when you draw up your annual budget, knowing that you’ll probably be paying more than usual for each hour that’s covered. Balance it out by keeping track of times of the year when you don’t need as much coverage. The money you don’t spend during slower seasons can help cover overtime when things get hectic. (Note that overtime pay can also be an incentive to persuade employees to work over holidays.)

3. Schedule jobs efficiently. Of course you always want your employees to complete jobs in the speediest, most effective way possible. But that efficiency becomes all the more important during times when you’re forced to do more with less. Fleet tracking software can help you find the most efficient routes to each job, update your field manager on job progress in real time, and give customers a heads up when the driver is about to arrive so they’re ready. When you combine all of these actions, they can add up to tremendous time savings. And then maybe, just maybe, you’ll all be able to go home early and make that Memorial Day cookout after all.

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