Skip to Main Content
Filter By +
Topic +

How to Avoid Summer PTO Pitfalls

Summer means sunny weather, longer days, exciting vacations … and can mean checked-out employees.

Wait one (very hot) minute?

Sure, your employees might be distracted by thoughts of sandy shores or how to keep their kids busy between summer camps, but with the right communication, the season doesn’t have to be a drain on productivity.


Prevent unexpected staffing shortages

Most employers face some increased schedule variability when the weather heats up, but healthy two-way communication at the team level can minimize that turbulence.

Parents of school-aged children might have gaps between available child care programs, or might need additional flexibility to pick up or drop off children at different times throughout the season. Employees may find themselves hosting unexpected family members. Some staff members may be prone to cabin fever and tell you early Friday morning that they’re planning to take a long weekend, starting right then!

On one hand, managers need to communicate with their employees about staffing needs, and on the other, employees should feel comfortable enough to bring up unexpected situations as they arise. A clear policy on swapping shifts will make it easier for employees to do so as needed.

Many employee assistance programs (EAP) can help parents find child care options, so make sure information on your EAP is easy to find. And as for your colleagues with cabin fever? The answer’s shockingly simple …

Ice Cream

Encourage use of PTO

It may sound counterintuitive, but reminding staff about their accrued time off early and in the middle of the year gives them enough time to schedule a vacation and avoid all taking off the same time at the end of the year.

In fact, reminding your employees in June still gives them plenty of time to schedule a late summer trip for August. Or simply plan a few long weekends to enjoy the fresh air and sunny skies instead of creating their own summer Friday rules!

Without proper communication, planned vacations can still throw a wrench in an otherwise seamless team. A team PTO calendar can provide visibility on staffing coverage and help managers avoid having too many people out at the same time.

An alternative issue that crops up in some companies occurs when employees don’t take enough PTO during the bulk of the year, saving it all up for that final month. That just moves the struggle to maintain coverage to December instead of July! Promoting PTO usage for employees during the summer and throughout the year can help prevent this, too.

Communicating to ensure your company has adequate staffing coverage while also actively encouraging employees to take PTO does several great things for your business: Your employer brand gets a boost; your managers won’t have to deny year-end vacation requests left and right; and your employees will come back refreshed and more productive.