Ahh vacation – the 2 weeks your employees will be looking forward to when things are looking down. They’ve been dealing with garbage in the workplace, working in the dark, and dwindling corporate morale. They can’t wait to take some seemingly well-deserved time off. As an educated executive however, you know that giving employees time off is something you would rather not do, and if not for the government-mandated requirements, you’d have them work right through March break while you are enjoying a ‘business trip’ with the mistress in Mexico.
To minimize the impact of this ridiculous notion of vacation time, you need to make sure any work they would do during their vacation is done during the time they are at work. You also don’t want employees going too far away so they can come and work on an emergency basis if needed. Last thing – you want to control when they take vacation so it doesn’t affect the deliverables of the company.
So – how can you do this without breaking the law? Let me tell you how. In my neck of the woods there is a stipulation in the labor law that allows the employer (you!) to dictate when that vacation time is given. Sometime around March start floating a summer Vacation Signup form around your office giving your employees the chance to select their preferred vacation time. Promptly throw these away when received. Sometime in April or May (spring is the worst time to have time off) you’ll need to get your employees engaged on a very urgent project that has a fixed deadline. Encourage them to work overtime in exchange for the entire week after the project is completed at the deadline. This will indubitably create surge of excitement and employee morale in the week leading up to their week off. It will build team spirit as your employees come together to meet this meaningless deadline. During this time of increased productivity, make sure they accomplish the work they would have done in their week off.
Everyone will return from their time away refreshed and energized. This is good. Keep a smile on their face for as long as possible until the time comes for their ‘scheduled’ vacation. When your employees confirm they are ok for their pending vacation you’ll have to break the news to them. There is no easy way to sugar coat this, so simply inform them the company selected the week already and their vacation for the year has already been taken. Encourage them to keep working for the greater good of the company so hopefully some more time off can be scheduled in the future (October is a good time for this).
Don’t forget throughout all of this that it is still recommended for you and your executive team take as many vacations as you want. Remember, business trips with your execs can be considered a business expense and tax write-offs can (and should) be taken advantage of.