It’s time to deck the halls and prep for those holiday questions that often leave us stumped. From gift exchanges, party etiquette, and PTO, the holidays are full of HR conundrums that leave us wondering, “What Do I Do?!”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the most common questions surrounding the holidays and how HR can address these issues without (hopefully) stepping on any toes.

Handling Vacation Requests

How should I handle holiday requests? Should we base it on seniority or first come, first served?

handling holiday vacation requests

The holidays are an emotional time and this especially gets tricky when it comes to the coveted week off between Christmas and New Year’s. When planning for holiday vacations, there are a few different ways you can address this.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The most important thing to do when it comes to holidays or PTO is to communicate with plenty of notice. Let people know in advance when they are expected to be in office so they can plan accordingly. Setting expectations are the first step to ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Ask employees to submit their PTO preferences, including first and second choices. This is a great way to eliminate all or nothing situations when you need to make tough decisions about who stays in the office.
  • Be a human. As frustrating as this time is, remember: your employees are still real people who probably look forward to this time all year long. Be compassionate, empathetic and understanding when denying requests for PTO and ensure them that you’ve done your best to accommodate them.
  • Bring the holidays to the office. If people are forced to work during this time, make it as enjoyable as possible. Shut down early if you can or allow them to work remotely. When you’re stuck in the office, have someone order snacks, lunch or holiday treats to show your appreciation. A little bit goes a long way.

Are you dealing with a PTO crises? Tell us your stories in the comments!

About Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson is a Senior Marketing Associate at PerkSpot, providing creative insights and challenging the way we think about the workplace.

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