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Vacations are an important fringe benefit for millions of American Workers. Time off from the job allows families to play together, complete household projects, and recharge the batteries needed to sustain effective work productivity.

Establishing and observing three important principles for vacations will keep your business running smoothly and optimize your customer service, while at the same time giving your employees the time off they need.

#1—Establish clear policy
Christmas can be an especially difficult time. When multiple requests come in at the same time, will preference be based on seniority? Will you alternate requests from year to year? Can your employees resolve conflicts among themselves? How will emergency requests be handled?

It will be challenging, but you need to:
- Establish a clear and consistent vacation policy that applies to everyone in an organization, including owners and senior management, because “to show partiality is not good” (Proverbs 24:23 NASB).
- Confirm that all requests will be granted on a first come, first serve basis.
- Determine the maximum length of vacation allowed at one time. Some firms limit vacations to one or two weeks at a time, while others allow three or four.
- Focus on the needs of the business when setting policies.
- Determine in advance how conflicting requests will be resolved.

#2—Establish clear rules
Set definite guidelines for requesting vacation time and communicate these guidelines to your staff in writing, regardless of the size of your enterprise. State how and when requests may be submitted and how conflicting requests will be resolved. Clearly establishing written policies will eliminate conflict whereas “through presumption comes nothing but strife” (Proverbs 13:10 NASB).

Encourage your employees to plan ahead. Set a date (i.e. - October 1st) when requests will be considered for the following year. Few employees will request next year’s summer vacation nine months in advance, but a policy of granting requests on a first come, first serve basis will encourage better long-term planning and will settle many disputes. When Tom insists in June that he needs two weeks off in July to go to the lake, your denial, while never unproblematic, is easier when two other requests were approved last December and January.

#3—Establish department staffing levels
Establish what staffing levels are required to maintain optimum customer service and company operations, then limit the number of employees who may be on vacation at any given time. For example, an automotive dealership with 14 sales professionals might be able to schedule effectively with a staff of ten, so four requests could be granted during a given period.

The dealership’s service department, on the other hand, may only be able to allow one engine mechanic at a time to take a vacation. If you establish clear staffing requirements in advance, your employees will understand why some dates are available and others are not. Long term planning is the natural result.

Some owners or senior managers may feel they need to defer or cancel their own plans because others insist on certain time off. Before changing plans, consider the circumstances. Are you being fair to your family? Are the other person’s circumstances so important and unchangeable that deferring is appropriate?

Poor planning by someone else should not constitute an emergency on your behalf. Flexibility may be necessary and desirable, but maintain a balanced perspective.

Time off can be a thorny issue, but establishing a level-playing field will help. By creating a fair and consistent vacation policy, communicating those guidelines clearly to your staff, and maintaining an even-handed administration of rules, you will keep your business running smoothly and your employees happy, rested, and ready to work.

Steve Marr of Business Proverbs consults with businesses, ministries,
and non-profit organizations. Steve's passion is to empower ministry
and business leaders with God's ancient Wisdom for enhanced performance
and excellence. He resides in Tucson, Arizona with his family.

Author Biography

Steve Marr
Web site: The Life
Steve Marr has learned from 40 years of business experience that God's way works. As an author, speaker and business consultant, Marr helps companies and organizations apply the ancient wisdom of the Bible to avoid the common mistakes and headaches of growing a business.

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