There’s a reason I call Friday articles “distractions”. It’s because after a hectic week, we need a little distraction. And what better way to add some levity to a busy week than with a little humor.
But not all distractions are good ones. Some distractions prevent employees from focusing on their work. This can impact safety, quality, and as today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos point out, customer service.
In my experience, most employees make time off requests because they have a reason. It could be a child’s event at their school or a family celebration or maybe a doctor’s appointment. The point being when employees ask for time off, it’s important to them. And waiting for an approval can be distracting.
Look for ways to use technology with scheduling requests. Today’s workforce management technology allows managers to approve scheduling requests quickly, reducing any distractions employees might feel waiting for an answer. In fact, because many time off requests are routine for managers, this activity could be automated, eliminating repetitive work and improving the employee experience.
Empower employees to find their own options. I’ve worked for several companies that encouraged employees to find their own coverage. Of course, employees needed to be qualified to do the job. But the idea was employees found a colleague they could work out a shift trade with. It also encouraged employees to honor the shift trade agreement because, at some point in the future, they might need to return the favor.
Consider benefits like unlimited vacation so employees don’t call in sick. The last thing organizations want is for employees to not get a time off request and simply call in sick that day. Benefits like unlimited vacation encourage employees to plan and request time in advance. That benefits the employee and the company. And research is showing that, when unlimited vacation programs are implemented properly, the risk of abuse is minimal.
I understand that every time off request cannot be accommodated. Organizations need to create scheduling processes – time off requests, shift trades, etc. – that benefit both the company and the employee. That allows everyone to focus on the work, without distractions.17