THE BLOG
01/02/2014 05:26 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2014

Small Business Guide to Surviving Employee Vacations

While the holiday season is good for employees morale as they took time off work, for small business owners it can be quite the obstacle.

Larger businesses have plenty of employees who can pick up the slack when another employee decides to go traveling for vacation, but a small business usually lacks those extra personnel resources. This can be detrimental to a small business, as losing one employee for a few days leaves a bit of a void in the workload.

All is not lost though: Here is how to keep things running smoothly when an employee goes on vacation.

Claim Vacations in Advance

This is the number one way to keep business from getting to chaotic. Every business owner knows that their employees are going to need a vacation at some point, even if they have hired up the most dedicated workers. Businesses that don't require at least two weeks or a month of notice before an employee can take off may be setting themselves up for disaster. Employees can end up taking vacations at the same time, leaving small business owners completely empty handed. Requiring that employees give advanced notice before traveling can help prevent such shenanigans as well as giving business owners time to make preparations for while they are away.

Pay Extra for More Work

When an employee goes on vacation, someone is going to have to pick up their slack. For a small company this is usually another employee and, honestly, no one wants to do someone else's job as well as their own. However, to give incentive to help pick up the slack consider giving a bonus or a temporary pay raise to whomever is the most qualified to do both jobs. With the incentive of some extra cash in their pockets, most employees will be motivated to do both jobs. Who knows, they may use that extra cash to go traveling themselves later.

Hire on Temporary or Seasonal Help

No business owner wants to hire a temporary employee for a week while another employee is traveling. These temporary employees wouldn't even be fully trained in a week. However, for business owners who implement advanced notice for vacations, they may have several employee vacations lining up. This is the time to take advantage of temporary hires. Train them to do the jobs of those who will be going on vacations, then there will be no need to have another full-time employee to pick up the slack. If they do a good job business owners will already have another trained potential worker for the next time someone needs a break to travel.

Put Things in Perspective

Small businesses are much like a machine that depends on the cogs within it. Each cog has a job and they all seem integral to keep the overall business running. Sometimes this is true, which makes coping with employees traveling on vacation more difficult. However, for small businesses that do not have the money to pay other employees extra to do two jobs or hire temporary help, there are some difficult choices to be made. The small business owner may have to shift some employees around based on importance to everyday affairs. Decide on if the job is integral to day to day business. If it is not, then business owners may not need anyone to do it all the time, merely check in from time to time. However, for more important jobs, some employees may need to be shifted around.