August long weekend | One in five employees is off today, creating ghost town offices across the nation

One in five employees is off today, creating ghost town offices across the nation

As the summer draws to a close, workplaces across the nation are witnessing a significant spike in leave requests, particularly for the Friday preceding the much-awaited August bank holiday Monday.

A recent study revealed that this particular day has claimed the title of the most ‘booked-off day’ for the past seven years.

According to statistics from BrightHR, an impressive 18% of employees have already booked this day off to create a prolonged weekend. However, the numbers continue to surge as the holiday approaches, with a remarkable 22% increase in absence requests during the past week alone.

The trend of 'last-minute Larry', individuals who scramble to finalise their leave requests just before the cutoff, seems to be driving this surge in late submissions.

The allure of an extended weekend is undeniable, prompting experts to emphasise the importance of promptly approving these leave requests to maintain a healthy work-life balance for employees.

“Managing the delicate balance between granting leave requests and maintaining operational efficiency can be complex,” notes Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR. “There are instances where declining some requests becomes inevitable to keep the business running smoothly."

One common pitfall is the misconception that employees with children should be given priority for leave approval, emphasising that such considerations shouldn't compromise a fair leave allocation process.

To navigate these challenges effectively, HR needs a well-communicated annual leave policy.

This policy should transparently outline the process for submitting requests, the criteria for acceptance, and the methods employed to handle overlapping requests.

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Many companies opt for a first-come, first-served approach or prioritise employees who haven't taken time off recently. Additionally, setting a cap on simultaneous absences and specifying a submission timeframe can help manage the leave allocation process.

Whilst a much needed long weekend is a sought-after perk, it’s also important to remind employees that, to avoid poling the stress back on come Tuesday, getting their affairs in order will allow them to truly enjoy the August sun, or possibly more likely, rain.

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