Holiday scheduling in 4 easy steps

With the holidays around the corner, it’s time to focus on your holiday scheduling. You need to be properly staffed through what is often the busiest time of the year. We live and breathe scheduling here at Homebase, so we’ve put together some of our top tips to keep your business running smoothly and full of holiday cheer.

During the winter holidays, holiday pay rates, communicating availability, and advanced time off requests all become that much more important. Whether you have a retail business that handles large crowds or a plumbing business that offers services every day of the year, knowing who can work the hours you need and including holiday pay rates in your forecasts will help you get ahead and keep your holiday scheduling stress-free.

1. Establishing Clear Expectations for Holiday Scheduling

If you’re hiring seasonal employees or forecast that you’ll need employees to work more hours due to higher-than-usual foot traffic, make this clear as early as possible. Staying open a little later when shoppers are trying to get something for everyone on their list could boost sales. When your employees understand this, they will make those extra sales with a smile — as long as the extra hours don’t catch them off guard. Consider making one weekend shift required for all employees if you run a retail shop that is a neighborhood favorite for unique holiday gifts. Set a meeting before the holidays begin so that each employee understands the out-of-the-ordinary shifts that will become the norm for several weeks. And frame this temporary change as an increase in hours and pay, not as a loss of their non-work time. This will set the tone for the season and get everyone on the same page.

2. Advance Availability Planning for Holiday Schedules

Holiday scheduling works best with a healthy dose of communication between employees and managers. One of the most important things to communicate is exactly who is working and when. The earlier those hours are set, the better. Managers need to make schedules known with a bit more notice than at other times of the year, and this means employees need to communicate their availability in advance, too. That way, employees can match up their work hours with other obligations they have. And many part-time employees will jump at the opportunity for more hours if they’re given enough notice to plan for those shifts.

3. Mandate Pre-emptive Time-Off Requests in Holiday Scheduling

Most of your employees will be spending the holidays with family and friends, so they should know what is expected of them at work in order to properly balance the two this holiday season. Family dinners, vacations, ice skating, you name it. There are a number of fun activities that your employees want to take part in this holiday season, and they are possible as long as they give you ample notice. When your staffing is off, there’s no way to make the most out of the holiday surge. Manage time off requests by setting a cut-off date for any planned time off over the holidays. That way, you can plan around absences and make a strong schedule that successfully avoids last-minute changes. This is especially easy to do with Homebase.

4. Implementing Special Pay Rates for Holiday Shifts

Does your business need to stay open through the holidays? Homebase has a holiday pay feature that enables managers to set an hourly rate on a holiday, without needing to manually edit time cards before running payroll. For example, if you want to pay 1.5x for any work on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, you can do so with a few clicks. You don’t want to start the year caught off guard when you do payroll.

The holidays are approaching quickly and planning your holiday scheduling strategy now will help give you peace of mind later in the season.

Homebase can help with holiday scheduling and beyond. Get started for free.

Holiday Scheduling FAQs

How do I create a holiday schedule?

The most important part of scheduling employees for the holidays is getting an early start. You’ll want to have a clear policy in place ahead of time, and you’ll want to make sure your employees know what is required of them. The earlier you can set your holiday work hours, the better.

How do I make my work schedule fair?

Communication is key to a fair schedule. Knowing what your employees want, what they can do, and what they cannot do, as well as letting your employees know what is required, especially around the holidays. Offering holiday bonuses of 1.5-2x pay for working holidays also makes working those days much fairer.

How can Homebase help with holiday scheduling?

Homebase does it all! From payroll, HR, hiring, and scheduling, Homebase can help you with the tedious tasks that take up a lot of time and effort.

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