Remote Work
September 30, 2021

How Should Companies Manage Holidays?

While the advent of remote work has brought many unforeseen benefits with it, it’s also brought myriad questions. Increasingly, with teams scattered across countries, continents, and cultures, remote companies are scrambling to figure out how to manage time off for their team members. 

It can be difficult to not only recognize but manage holidays and vacation days that are important to each team member. Some international companies are setting the tone for managing cultural and public holidays for their global team in creative ways. Recognizing these holidays is important for companies to be more inclusive and helps team members feel valued. 

How to classify holidays

Holidays can be categorized into the following main groups:

  • Public holidays 
  • Religious holidays
    - Christmas (most countries)
    - Eid (Islamic countries or countries with a high percentage of Muslims)
    - Holi (Hindu countries or countries with a high percentage of Hindus)
    - Easter (Christian countries or countries with a high percentage of Christians)
  • Maternity/Paternity leave 
  • Casual leave 
  • Sick leave 
  • Unpaid leave

One of the most important aspects of managing these leave days that are all of a different nature is to plan ahead. Here’s how to do just that. 

How companies can manage holidays

  1. Create and document your policy

Clear vacation policies are absolutely paramount in order to avoid messy situations.
Some of the most important features of a good policy are clear information on:

  • The required notice period – the timeframe between asking for vacation days and actually taking the vacation.

  • Maximum days off in one go – some remote holidays need to be months long. This is usually for maternity/paternity leave, and may cause an issue for smaller business but be fine for larger ones.

  • Approvers – outline clearly who can approve holidays. This is usually the manager, but if they are not available, there must be others who can approve vacation requests, and employees must know who they are.

  • Fairness – employees should be clear on how their vacation requests for religious or health (physical or mental) purposes will be treated. 

  1. Communicate your policy 

Having a great policy doesn’t mean anything if employees don’t know about it. Employers should ensure that their employees are familiar with the policy, can access it easily, and feel comfortable discussing it with their employers.

This also extends to employees who don’t seem to be taking any leave – they might think that they can take it all at one go, or there may be other issues surrounding them and taking leave. Employers should ensure that such employees are making good use of their vacation time while also complying with the vacation policy.  

  1. Use PTO tracking software

Paid time off (PTO) tracking software like RemotePass makes the headaches of managing remote holidays disappear.

  • Requests are all in one place – employers don’t have to spend time searching through emails and messages to find requests for vacations or remote holidays.

  • The employer or whomever they choose will receive all vacation requests – which makes it easy for the employer as well as employees because this saves time and reduces confusion.

  • Time, money, and effort spent is reduced – when taking care of vacation requests isn’t automated and done well, it can cost a lot of money because time and effort are used up by people handling the vacation requests. We can help do away with all of that with our PTO tracking software, which frees employees’ time up to do the tasks only they can do. 

  1. Apply the policy consistently 

Employers should have an open line of communication and set some expectations for how their team should operate. This will help to ensure that the policy is applied consistently to all employees, no matter where they are. 

  • Be clear about availability:
    When companies need their workers to be available at certain hours of the day or on certain days or time periods, they should be very explicit about this. Employees can then set expectations as to when they can’t be on vacation, and employers won’t have to worry about being short-staffed. 

  • Choose the medium(s) of communication
    There should be a set communication channel that team members use when asking for or simply communicating about vacations. This reduces the clutter and chaos that can ensure when employees aren’t sure where or when to ask about time off.

    An example of what can happen when a communication channel isn’t chosen is that an employee might ask about time off during a meeting, and it would be an awkward situation to have to tell them that wasn’t the right time or place.

  • Timely meetings
    When employees are taking their remote holidays, employers can hold weekly or monthly meetings to keep all members on track on a project’s progress. This way, employees on vacation aren’t working, but are still involved in the company.

    This helps employees to feel that their company doesn’t forget them, and it helps the company by keeping employees up to date so that time isn’t wasted catching them up when they return to work.

  • Respond to emails

Employees on vacation might still be needed to respond to work-related emails regarding urgent matters or for situations where only they have the experience or knowledge needed. 

Emails are a great way for employees to be contacted. They aren’t as disruptive as a phone call and they provide employees with the time and space to respond as and when they can. There must be a clear understanding of the expectations surrounding emails between employers and employees for this to work well. 

Observing holidays is important for the well-being and morale of the team; working remotely shouldn’t obstruct that. We make managing holidays easy at RemotePass. 

You have a global view of holidays where your team is located. By default, the contract creator receives all requests for time-off, expenses, and work submission. You can even assign someone else to receive these requests and approve as needed. 

Get started with us today to give your remote team the time off they deserve, fuss-free. 

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