Managing Employee Vacation Days

Holidays and/or nice weather usually mean employees are going to schedule vacation days…and lots of them. And with that, it’s up to management to make sure the department is staffed accordingly and honor vacation requests in an equitable manner.

I’ve been lucky enough to work for some great bosses. And one of the things that made them great was their making sure that everyone on the team was able to take the time off they needed even if that meant they themselves had to work on a day they would have normally taken off just to make sure we were fully staffed.

However, that’s not always the case. Working for management with a “me first” mindset often means they are more worried about scheduling their own vacation than they are making sure that the person with the least amount of seniority gets to take a day or two off (even when that person technically has more seniority than they do). Or, even worse, they refuse to cover for one of their direct reports because they feel that would be beneath them. Regardless, it creates an obvious morale problem– especially for those managers with a very small staff.

Around holidays and other lulls in your business cycle, when possible make sure everyone on your team has a chance to take some time off…even if it’s only one day. And if that means you have to come in to cover for them, why not take one for the team?

Shawn Graham is Director of MBA Career Services at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (