Staff cover over Easter - top tips

Staff cover over Easter - top tips
Staff cover over Easter - top tips

posted 19 Mar 24

Encouraging employees to take time out to rest and recuperate is vital to ensure employee wellbeing and productivity. However, if employers aren’t prepared with sufficient staff cover, public holidays can often cause operational headaches.

Knowing how to manage a team when large proportions of the workforce are on annual leave is essential for keeping your business running smoothly, keeping productivity high and minimising customer impact. In the call centre industry, to facilitate seasonal peaks and troughs, many businesses look at temp staff cover which provides a great deal of flexibility to adjust staffing levels at short notice. With this type of employment, employers can scale up quickly, bring in fresh skills and ideas and control costs.

Julie Calisir, Managing Director, Search Call & Contact Centre

At Search, we understand the importance of building out capacity in your teams and provide flexible solutions which allow your business to scale up and down whilst controlling cost.  Discover our top tips for ensuring staff cover and limiting potential impact on your business during popular times of staff leave, including the approaching Easter bank holiday.

Effectively manage holiday requests

During the lead up to a public holiday you are likely to face an increased number of holiday requests. Easter especially, as employees look to take advantage of the four-day weekend and maximise the time they can take off consecutively. You will need to have a clear and consistent holiday request procedure in place and a cut-off period for holiday requests to prevent potential staffing issues. Ensuring this process is as streamlined and automated as possible will help limit increased demand on HR and people teams.

Ahead of busy periods of leave, you may want to consider sending an internal communication to the business which highlights the upcoming holiday and outlines the deadline for holiday requests. It’s also important to manage expectations and emphasise that during busy periods of leave such as these, compromise and understanding is needed to balance workloads and allow fairness. If holiday has already been requested and needs to be altered, be sure to consult your HR department / HR policy to manage this sensitively and appropriately.

Mitigate unexpected leave

Whilst you cannot prevent all unexpected leave and sick days during bank holidays, you can go some way to mitigate them. Communicating key bank holiday dates well in advance and clarifying whether these are considered holidays or working days in your business will help avoid any uncertainty and confusion that can often be an excuse for unexpected leave.

Bring in temporary resources

Bring in temporary resources

Skilled temps are ideal for covering staff shortages and providing help with key projects. Many temps are used to hitting the ground running, requiring only a few days to get up to speed and understand requirements quickly. This alleviates the burden on business pressures and the current workforce, providing employers with the peace of mind that tasks will be completed on time to a high standard.

Consider your global team

If you are a business that operates worldwide it is wise to communicate public holidays clearly, ensuring employees understand who they’re relevant for. Advance internal communication helps teams prepare and equips managers with guidance on how to manage challenging conversations and staff coverage. You may even find that improved communication around public holidays also limits unexpected leave, as teams are aware of the strains on the business during these times.

Remember contractual considerations

Depending on your company policies, employee contracts may state that annual leave entitlement includes all bank and public holidays or may specify that workers are entitled to days off in lieu if they work during that time. Where the contract is silent on the point, a court or employment tribunal may imply a contractual right to paid public holidays. Payroll and HR teams should consider this ahead of time and factor in the legalities for part-time workers and those on maternity or sick leave.

Encourage employees to rest

With the rise in remote and hybrid working arrangements, employee wellbeing has never been so important. The pandemic propelled the use of digital communication creating an ‘always on’ culture that often led to an unbalanced work-life culture. Not to mention the mental health implications brought about by forced isolation and social separation. Research by Deloitte has found that Generation Z and Millenials are at particular risk of higher levels of stress related to remote working.

When opportunities like this arise for employees to take time off work to focus on themselves, it’s vital that employers support this. Managers should lead by example by setting clear boundaries. Ensure teams produce handover documents, put out of office messages on and organise work cover to allow themselves to fully switch off when on annual leave.

How Search can support your business

At Search, we help thousands of companies prepare for seasonal fluctuations and busy periods. Whether that's by having a temporary workforce available when you need it or by providing advice around handling employment contracts, our expert recruitment consultants are on hand to help so you can focus on growing your business.

Spring into action today and arrange a free consultative chat with a specialist member of our team.