If you shut up shop over Christmas, you can safely skip this episode of the blog. (See you next year!)

We’re addressing those HR pros who have to cope with Christmas opening. That means people in hospitality, security and domiciliary care, plus the emergency services. All of these sectors get busier during the festive season, and Christmas 2021 is certainly shaping up to be a tense period in the personnel department.

With Omicron rearing its ugly head, who knows how many of your workers will be in isolation this time next month?

But, even if Omicron is less of a problem than we’re all anticipating, this is still the time of year when you’re likely to find even dedicated workers looking for opportunities to spend more time with their families. Factor in the ongoing effects of the pandemic and a general wish to avoid a replay of the damp squib that was Christmas 2020, and you have a perfect recipe for a stressful Yule.

Here are our 6 tips for sorting out the 2021 Christmas rota…and dealing with any resulting problems.

Get ahead

The earlier you get to work on that rota, the better! If you didn’t begin already, now would be a good moment…

Clarify your expectations

Only a minority of businesses open at Christmas. You’re acutely aware of being one of them, of course, but are you quite sure that all your staff get the picture? For recent arrivals, the answer may be ‘No’. Make your expectations known… as early as you can.

Set out your policy

One of the biggest causes of Christmas stress is that staff are often left feeling they’ve been passed over for holidays. If they need to request a Christmas break, make sure they know the necessary procedures, set clear closing dates for receipt of those requests…and make sure everyone understands how you propose to allocate holiday time if you get more requests than you expected.

Find the exceptions

The assumption that every single one of your employees feels in need of a break may be pessimistic. With a bit of luck, there’ll be an uninterested minority around whom you can build your Christmas rota. (If you have to bribe them with time-and-a-half or extended spring holidays, so be it…)

Try to be reasonable

To maximise buy-in, consult wherever you can and win agreement whenever possible. It’s always better to accommodate your employees than to alienate them.

Have a ‘Plan B’

Regardless of how well things are going, you need to prepare a fallback…especially this year, with COVID-19 waiting in the wings. Organise ‘reserve’ staff members, trusty employees who are willing to be on standby and to cover other people’s shifts in the event of absences. You might even contact an agency to discuss temp hires, although that really is a last resort…

Of course, if you’re dealing with the logistics of juggling Christmas shifts, LeavePlanner’s automated management functions make it even more of a help than it is the rest of the year. Call us to learn more.

For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email support@leaveplanner.com