How do you manage a flood of out-of-office requests from your team? (holidays, etc.) Do you have any set agreement with them if a certain number needs to be on duty? How do you plan ahead to avoid disaster if a large number are out?

2.8k views4 Upvotes18 Comments

President in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Work with a MSP to make sure you have 24x7 IT ops coverage.

Work with your managers to make sure you have critical staffing even in contingency situations like a natural disaster. This should be part of a documented DR/BC plan.

Maximize employee flexibility so that employees will accept an occasional “sorry but no” when they all ask for the same period off work etc. Say yes as often as possible.
Director of IT in Services (non-Government), 5,001 - 10,000 employees
One of the most significant duties a manager has is addressing employee time-off requests, and handling them improperly can result in personnel shortages and morale problems. On the other side, effectively handling employee time-off requests may keep your staff content, foster a happier workplace, and ultimately benefit your company's success.

Making a time-off policy is a fantastic chance to consider the requirements of your company and lay out your expectations for your employees. Having a transparent policy and applying it equally is the best approach to handle employee time-off requests. 

Your time-off policy should specify how much of each form of time off each employee receives in addition to describing the various types of time off that are available. Do workers receive more vacation time the longer they have worked for you, for instance? Do they receive no vacation time while on probation? If there are restrictions on how frequently employees may request time off, let the staff know. Include it in your policy as well if you can only offer time off twice per month (or twice per year).
VP of IT in Banking, 10,001+ employees
We plan according, always having enough on duty.
Global Director - Security in Telecommunication, 10,001+ employees
My expereince is that self-management is often the best option for my team. Unfortunately it's not possible for all duties and Digital tools are a helpful hand to mange potential overlaps of OoO requests. That allows transparency and fair processes for all to avoid first come first serve handling.
Director of IT in Services (non-Government), 11 - 50 employees
we have 24/7 presence with mitigation and contracts in place in case of emergency 
Senior Director Engineering in Travel and Hospitality, 10,001+ employees
The team is built on trust and what we generally do is to ask the team to self manage.
Teams are expected to know each others plans well in advance compared to a manager, and it helps if they are able to work it out between themselves on how to spread out their out-of-offices.

Though this is a best case scenario, spreading out the team globally also helps in mitigating the holiday needs through the year.

One last bit, as a manager/leader of the team, you might have to take a tough call to decline a holiday ask, but thats something you vest went you are left with other option like asking for remote working, half day off or other creative modes to balance the needs of the employee and of the business
VP, Technology Manager in Education, 10,001+ employees
Our team allows for most folks to be on vacation over the holidays, but we do staff tier 1 and tier 2 support. If a critical issue arises, we just have to scramble to get folks in remotely. Only during a significant planned event do we severely limit our team from enjoying time off at the end of the year. 
VP of IT in Software, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Well ahead of the holidays, I let people know that they should not be taking long holiday breaks out of fairness for others on the team. In addition, I encourage the team to let me know as soon as possible if they plan to take any time off around the holidays. The person who asks first has a better chance of getting time off compared to the person who asks last. I monitor who is going to be out so that we won't lack certain skills for support.
Director of IT in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees
We try to schedule the out of office time.  There is always at least one person in the office while the rest are mostly available remotely.  I try to make myself available remotely and have staff available.  This is just planning and scheduling that isn't too difficult.
SVP, IT Enterprise Architect in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We have redundant resources on each team.  It is their responsibility to coordinate time off so we always have coverage for their area off support.  This provides them with flexibility and ownership which works well for the company.

Content you might like

CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
Read More Comments
40.7k views131 Upvotes319 Comments

Yes — always.37%

No, I don't mind sharing my data48%

Not yet, but I might opt out soon9%

Don’t know — I need to check!4%