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Employees & Q4 Holidays Management Tips For Business Owners


For business owners, the last quarter of the year is always challenging. Some of these challenges are beneficial – for example, shops have to begin to prepare for the annual Christmas rush around this time – but others are less welcome. In this post, we’re going to focus on one of the most difficult issues Q4 tends to pose: employee holiday requests.


Why are employee holiday requests a problem in Q4?

On the first examination, it may seem that employee holiday requests are most likely to be problematic in the third quarter, as employees take time off work in order to enjoy their annual summer holidays. While Q3 is undeniably affected by this issue, it’s actually Q4 that tends to be more problematic.

Q4 is the period in which holidays, in the sense of “celebratory occasions”, occur. At the end of October, there’s Halloween; then Bonfire Night; then Christmas and all its associated festivities; and then New Year’s Eve. Unlike summer holidays, which employees can request whenever they wish, the Q4 holidays are fixed dates – and there’s a good chance your workforce will all be intending to take the same days off in order to enjoy them.

If an employee wants to visit Greece for their summer holiday, they can select from a variety of dates between June and August. If they want to be off work in order to attend a Halloween party, then they have to request one specific date – October 31st – off – and this can be troublesome for employers.


Problems caused by fixed Q4 holidays

The worst-case scenario for Q4 holidays is multiple requests, from multiple employees, all fixed on the same dates. This can mean that granting these requests would leave your business terribly short-staffed – or, if you have to turn down a request, can lead to resentment from employees.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Q4 is also the height of cold and ‘flu season, so there’s every chance that the holiday requests will also be interspersed with absences due to ill health – so being short-staffed is even more likely.

Without proper management of these risks, there is a chance that your business operations could be greatly impacted for the fourth quarter – and potentially even to the point, it impacts your profits.


How can you prevent these problems?

  • Although it’s not yet Q4, start planning for holiday requests as soon as possible; consider software options for time and attendance management and set rules regarding when holiday requests can be submitted. For example, now might be a good time to stipulate that all holiday requests for significant dates be submitted at least one month in advance.
  • Decide a method for granting holiday requests; most business owners find “first come, first served” is generally the best choice.
  • Avoid deviating from the method you set above under any circumstances. It’s important that all employees feel their holiday requests have been considered fairly, and if you grant holiday outside of your stipulated rules, this could cause issues with other staff members.
  • If you are concerned about staffing cover due to the combination of holidays and likely sickness absences, consider hiring temporary employees to cover the potential gaps.


In conclusion

With the ideas above, you should be able to manage the complications the Q4 holiday season can bring to your business – good luck!

This is a collaborative post.

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