Posted on by Jessica Peaty

Timely tips: Staff holiday management at Christmas

It’s that time of year again. Holiday festivities can come with a lot of employee baggage, including taking extra time off in preparation for the Christmas period. This is so common that it can leave businesses short staffed at this time of year. We understand that this is far from the easiest time of year, for retail and hospitality based businesses, for getting employees to work a certain number of hours. This can be especially tricky with zero hours contracts, where the number of hours aren’t guaranteed in the first place.

So what can be done to help businesses hold the fort over this crucial couple of weeks in the run-up to Christmas? In this blog we’ll be sharing a few tips about what managers can do to ensure a stress free Christmas period for themselves and their staff.

Add extra incentives

Christmas bonuses and “time and a half” pay are common implementations for many companies. But what if you could do something more? Attendance bonuses are becoming increasingly common as the likelihood of staff clocking out early for the holidays increases. For hospitality, time and a half should be standard on Boxing Day and New Years; many restaurants and bars will stay open on these days and may even expect to be busy. As these days are bank holidays, treat your employees to a little extra for putting in the shifts.


Even though you are at work, the short time before the Christmas break will usually be a quieter period for many businesses. Assure your employees that the time spent in the office near the holidays will be low pressure. This can help keep productivity up as thoughts of the holidays grow ever stronger!

Don’t penalise employees for wanting the time off

At the end of the day staff are entitled to their holiday allowance. The time they’re requesting could be for any number of reasons: they’ve got plans that interfere with their work schedule, or they need the extra time to travel if they’re to be away from home for the holidays.

Get festive!

Let’s face it, very few people want to work the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day, even if they enjoy their job. If you do have staff working through these last couple of weeks, try to make things a bit more interesting. This could be as simple as decorating the place or selling festive themed products.


Back on the topic of holidays, it’s always better (and easier) to prioritise holidays for staff who have booked it in advance. This is especially important for the retail and hospitality sector as it can allow such businesses to hire on temps should the need arise. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, Christmas temp workers can make for an excellent, temporary (perhaps eventually permanent) addition to your staff when you find yourself short.

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