Guest Column | December 17, 2018

Managing A Skeletal Office During The Holidays

By Maureen Hoersten, LaSalle Network

Reevaluate Staffing Procedures

Many professionals take off during the holidays, and it’s important that management creates a plan to account for the decrease of employees in the office to ensure work still gets done. Following are some tips to help plan for and manage a skeletal office during the holidays.

  • Start the communication about time-off early. If you’re an office that needs a certain amount of people in the office during the holidays, be sure to communicate that as early as possible, even if that’s at the start of the year. Give employees enough time to schedule and plan, as well as for yourself!
  • Set the precedent early on. If there are a lot of requests and you need to have people in the office, create a system where you rotate who can take off around which holidays. Be sure to over-communicate to employees that while you’re trying to make it fair, if they can’t agree on a rotating system then you’ll have to mandate policies. This could mean not everyone being able to take off during the holidays because you need a certain amount of people in the office depending on the business.
  • Do the best you can to cater to your team. If you know what’s important to them, or where their family lives, then you can first try to put the puzzle pieces together with the knowledge you have about your people.
  • Take note of those in the office. Holidays could be a time where someone steps up and shows what they have to offer when others aren’t around. You also will have more face time with those in the office that you may not have the opportunity to spend sufficient time with otherwise. Take advantage of that!
  • Understand the business. When creating a plan, it all depends on the business and how deadline-driven the business is. If the business is deadlines-driven, then you need to plan in advance to hit them, and for some companies, that could be one week, one month, or one quarter ahead. If there are big projects, what back-up plan is in place should there be a glitch while that employee managing that project is out? What’s the protocol if they are needed while out, or is there someone who can be cross-trained as the back-up person who knows the ins and outs of the project?
  • Have access to information. As the manager, know where all the information is stored, and not just during the holidays. People can get sick, take vacations or get injured anytime throughout the year. Planning ahead for unplanned instances will allow you and your team to operate without any bumps.
  • History repeats itself. If you have enough data to help you prepare, like client requests or call volume, use old data to help predict what’s to come during the holidays, using that to create a plan. Know your team. Know your business, and understand what needs could come in. 

The holidays can be the busiest time of year, and you don’t want your business to suffer as a result of people taking off. Plan ahead so that your team and company can continue to operate efficiently to step into the New Year strong.

About The Author

Maureen Hoersten is Chief Operating Officer at LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm.