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How to Create a Smooth Shift Schedule for Vacation Season

Tuesday July 11, 2023

Vacation season brings joy and relaxation to employees but for businesses, it can present challenges in maintaining smooth operations. The key to navigating this period successfully lies in creating a well-planned and balanced shift schedule. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips to ensure a smooth shift schedule during the vacation season.


I. Assess Vacation Demands

To avoid last-minute chaos, begin planning for the vacation season well in advance. Encourage employees to submit their vacation requests early, allowing you enough time to organize and make necessary adjustments. Open up clear lines of communication and emphasize the importance of timely requests to ensure a smooth scheduling process. This proactive approach allows you to plan ahead and allocate resources efficiently.


II. Plan Ahead

Proactive planning is crucial for a smooth shift schedule. Create a vacation calendar that visualizes employee availability, enabling you to identify potential scheduling conflicts ahead of time. By engaging in open discussions with employees, you can resolve conflicts by rearranging shifts or exploring alternative solutions. Planning ahead ensures adequate coverage and minimizes disruptions.


III. Utilize Employee Preferences

Empowering employees to communicate their shift preferences for vacation coverage fosters a sense of ownership and engagement. Take their preferences into consideration while creating the schedule to achieve a fair and balanced distribution of shifts. Strategies such as a rotation system or voluntary shifts can be employed, allowing employees to have input into the schedule while meeting operational needs.


IV. Cross-Training and Skill Development

Cross-training employees for different roles and responsibilities within the organization enhances flexibility and boosts efficiency during the vacation season. Encourage employees to acquire new skills and knowledge through job shadowing or online training resources. By having a team that can seamlessly adapt to various tasks, you can maintain smooth operations and reduce the impact of staff absences.


V. Hiring Seasonal Workers? Be Clear on Scheduling Policies for Them Too

When bringing in seasonal workers to supplement the workforce, it is essential to establish clear scheduling policies. Clearly communicate expectations and availability requirements to ensure seamless integration. By providing the necessary guidance and support, you can leverage the additional workforce effectively, maintaining productivity and customer satisfaction.

To learn about employee scheduling mistakes to avoid in 2023, read this.


VI. Employee Rewards

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their flexibility and dedication during the vacation season can greatly boost morale. Consider implementing reward systems such as bonus incentives, extra time off or small tokens of appreciation. These gestures demonstrate your appreciation for their efforts and motivate employees to perform at their best, contributing to a smoother shift schedule.


VII. Use a Scheduling Tool to Make Things Easier for Yourself

Using modern scheduling tools can streamline the scheduling process and reduce administrative burdens. Utilize scheduling software or modern communication tools that offer features like automated shift assignments, real-time updates and conflict resolution. By leveraging technology, you can simplify the scheduling process and devote more time to strategic planning and employee engagement.


VIII. Regular Assessment and Adjustments

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your shift schedule during the vacation season. Monitor the schedule’s impact on operations and seek feedback from employees. Conduct weekly check-ins or feedback surveys to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments promptly. Flexibility and adaptability are key to maintaining a smooth shift schedule.



Creating a smooth shift schedule during the vacation season is possible with careful planning, effective communication, and the utilization of technology. Prioritizing employee well-being while ensuring operational efficiency will contribute to a positive work environment during the vacation season and beyond.


About Vocantas

For over 18 years, Vocantas has been providing extensive support to schedulers with respect to shift planning and tackling staffing challenges through real-time communication. If you’re looking for an effective communication module to enhance the workforce management system at your company, reach out to us for a free consultation. Get in touch with us here.

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