3 tips for organizing your holiday schedule

Scheduling time for holiday cheer

santa sack christmas

Staffing for the holidays can feel like an uphill battle against a Mount Everest of requests for time off. With guidance from these operators, you won’t need an ice ax and carabiner to sort out the holiday schedule.

1. Pinpoint likely volunteers

To staff special in-house holiday events, Mickey Sellard, executive chef and manager of dining services at Golden Living’s administrative office in Fort Smith, Ark., says she’s found success by first emailing out the call for volunteers to staff without kids.

2. One holiday on, one off

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, employs an “every other holiday” system. “If [employees] work Thanksgiving, they’d have Christmas off, and then the next year they’d work Christmas. So it’s pretty laid out for them a year in advance,” says Drew Patterson, Wexner’s culinary director of nutrition services.

3. Automating the ask

Scheduling apps—also popular among restaurant operators—allow employees to swap shifts with managerial oversight and request time off using their smartphones. The apps also allow employers to bar employees from requesting off on busy holidays. On these days, requests for time off are not automatic and must go through a manager for approval. “We have a clear and consistent process that helps our management team to be fair with everyone when it comes to approving time-off and shift-trade requests,” says Rob Sanchez, owner of an outpost of The Melting Pot in San Mateo, Calif. 

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