Episode 153: Managing Your Team’s Time Off

Managing Your Team’s Time Off

As a small business owner, you probably don’t want your entire business to halt when your team takes time off. So, how do you balance giving yourself and your team time off while ensuring the necessary tasks keep moving forward?

Today, we explore proven strategies for managing time off with your small teams, including the importance of planning ahead, cross-training team members, and utilizing technology. 


In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why effective time-off management for small teams is crucial to prevent burnout and boost productivity 
  • How to keep your operations moving forward year around
  • My top strategies to manage your team’s time off
  • The one thing you can implement today to help you avoid negative impact, even when someone is out last minute 

When managing a small team, how do you keep business going day to day while also ensuring team members are able to take time off? You care about your team. You don't want them to burn out. You know that they deserve time off, but it can be challenging for a small business to keep going when someone is out. Not to mention when multiple people ask for time off at the same time, which is common around big holidays. So in this episode, I'm gonna give some tips on how to manage time off in a way that leaves the business and your team well supported. 1st, plan ahead. I can't say this enough. The earlier you know about your team's time off, the easier it is to manage workloads.

So encourage your team to give ample notice, give them some guidelines on this, make sure that they are clear, and give them a way to submit time off requests. Now this is for employees. If they're a contractor, they're not gonna request time off for approval, but they They are still going to let you know, and you can still give them clear guidelines about how soon you need to know if they're going to be completely out and unavailable so that you can plan accordingly. 2nd, work ahead. Get into the habit of completing tasks ahead of schedule, working ahead, batching ahead, so that there's buffer time built in and the load is lightened for those who are in the office when others are out of office. 3rd, cross train. Make sure that more than 1 person knows how to perform essential tasks. It is So important that there is a backup.

And I know that for many of you, you've worked hard to delegate certain things to get them off of your plate, And you don't need to be the backup when someone is out. Ideally, someone else can be the backup, so it doesn't all flow back up to you. And so when someone is out, Ideally, another team member can take over without causing any kind of a hiccup in operations and without it influencing or impacting your schedule. 4th, utilize a time off Calendar, create a shared calendar that you can use specifically for tracking time off. We track things in a spreadsheet behind the scenes, but this is more of a public visual calendar that gives everyone on the team a reference for who will be out when. And this makes it easier to plan projects and allocate resources. Let's say that someone knows that they're gonna be out of office, they submit it well in advance, You can reference that calendar, that time off calendar, before you choose important dates, like for a launch or something along those lines. Additionally, team members can check to see if someone else is already taking time off so that they can make sure that Their backup is going to be in the office or that they know who to go to to be a backup.

5th, I want you to lean on technology. We use project management software daily, like all day daily to manage our team's workload. And I recommend that you do the same so that if someone is out is crystal clear what needs to be reassigned and you can prevent something being missed. I can't tell you how many times this has come in handy. There are the times when people plan ahead and we're able to simply look at what was scheduled for those dates and shift them to other team members or change the due dates. Sometimes when team members are out last minute due to being sick, it has really made it, again, crystal clear what needs to shift, what needs to move, what needs to be done. And so by having everything planned and defined inside of your project management system. You're gonna save yourself so much trouble.

Next, I want you to limit time off during key periods. This means it might be necessary to block off certain dates where no time off is allowed. Maybe you tell the team you, of course, you give them ample notice, but you tell the team, hey. Due to business needs, maybe it's a launch or another critical event, We're not going to take time off during this time period. This is an all hands on deck week. On the other hand, and this is the next Saying maybe you need to limit business activity around key holidays. So just like you limit time off during key business dates, maybe you limit business initiatives and projects during key holidays. So then it might be necessary to block off certain dates where you don't schedule client communication or meetings.

You don't schedule big projects so that your team is allowed to take that time off and they have fewer responsibilities. Now we do this 4 times a year with something that we call quiet weeks, where our clients know that Our team is away or we are working on internal projects, but either way, we are not responding in communities. We don't schedule client calls, and this gives our team the space to either wrap up things because it is a quiet week or to very easily take time off during, again, these key holiday dates when it's common to want to travel or to spend time with family. And it's just a great way for us to set some boundaries and take care of our team without sacrificing things without putting us in a bind because so many people are out. So these are 7 tips that you can leverage to manage time off. And I want you to keep this in mind. By doing all of this, you are not limiting autonomy. You're actually strategically allowing for more flexibility and freedom by planning ahead, by communicating clearly, by leveraging time off during key periods or limiting business activities in other periods by cross training and leaning on technology by working ahead, all of those things, You are ultimately benefiting both team morale and business productivity, and it benefits both your team and your business.

When you plan ahead, when you intentionally manage time off, everyone feels supported. Both your business and your team have what they need to deliver the best results possible.

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