Work & Wellbeing
The hidden benefits of having colleagues on leave
4 min read
17 December 2019
With employees in and out of the office, managers need to ensure that their employees receive the annual leave they’re entitled to while supporting their colleagues that are left in the office.
A recent study found that over a third of workers feel extreme pressure or even experience panic attacks when taking on their colleagues’ workloads during busy holiday periods.
This makes it very important for managers to plan accordingly and prepare their workforce.
How can managers plan for the popular holiday times and what can they do to ensure their workforce is happy and healthy all year long?
1. Focus on your staff
Some employees may be willing to switch roles or take on board their colleagues’ work during the holidays, which will help to alleviate the stress of employee absences.
In fact, the Cornerstone study found that 39% of Brits said taking on a colleagues’ tasks while they were away helped them develop new skills.
Use your employees’ leave as a chance to encourage your remaining employees to learn new skills and build their confidence in the workplace.
2. Implement wellbeing initiatives
With 81% of Brits taking on a colleague’s workload in their absence in addition to their own work, your employees may feel overwhelmed as their workload increases.
Knowing that increased stress is felt during popular holiday times, managers can prioritise wellbeing and launch some initiatives that will support their employees.
Perhaps weekly yoga classes in the office or meditation sessions might give employees the boost they need to get through this busy time of the year.
3. Learn, learn, learn
Encourage your employees to embrace this time and develop their own careers.
Our survey found that 32% of Brits felt they learnt more by taking on senior colleagues’ work than what they had learnt in the last month of their own role.
Managers can use this and challenge their employees to complete activities outside of their job role, knowing that this will help them develop their skill set while giving them a better understanding of the business as a whole.
4. Hire a helping hand
If you’re finding that peak holiday time is becoming too busy to manage with only your remaining employees, hiring temporary staff can be an option.
Although they aren’t ingrained in the business, they can often provide fresh thoughts and opinions that may add some energy into the business which in turn, will motivate your employees and relieve some of the stress felt during the holiday period.
5. Planning is key
This year an estimated 7 million Brits went away during the week of the 5th of August*.
Knowing that it is likely to be even higher during the festive season, managers can plan in advance and ensure that the office is equipped to deal with shifting workloads.
For those left behind in the office, it may be a busy week, but managers can reassure their employees not to panic and instead share their plan to make the summer stretch as seamless as possible.
An opportunity to develop employee skills
With many British employers facing a talent shortage, managers can use popular holiday times as an opportunity to grow and develop their employees’ skills.
By formulating a plan ahead of time and focussing on employee wellbeing, managers can ensure that their employees remain productive and motivated when left behind covering someone else’s work.
Rather than scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds feeling envious of their colleagues, employees will see this time as a chance to grow professionally and take on-board new and exciting challenges.
Editor’s note: * Calculation took the number of people over the age of 16 in employment in the U.K. (32.75m) and calculated 22%. This does not include Brits, not in employment