Scheduling Workforce in the Holiday Season

Whether you’re a small cafe or a large corporation, the holiday season can be an extremely busy time for many businesses. This is especially true for retailers with so many people rushing to buy gifts for their friends and family members. However, while the holiday season can be great for business, it is also vitally important to schedule your workforce properly during this time. From excessive overtime to vacation request miscommunications, a lack of proper planning and organization can result in some major problems for you and your workforce. With the holiday season well under way, let’s take a look at some great tips and tricks for workforce scheduling during the holiday season.

1. Requesting time off in advance

With a myriad of cultural celebrations occurring this month, many of your employees are likely going to want to take time off to be with family and friends. Unfortunately, many of these vacations may overlap due to employees requesting similar days off. Failing to manage these vacation requests with proper foresight could result with organizational difficulties and dispirited employees. To avoid upsetting a large number of employees while simultaneously ensuring your business is properly staffed, we suggest notifying them that vacation requests must be submitted well in advance and failure to do so may result in a rejected request. Adopting a clear cut and transparent approach is sure to eliminate unnecessary miscommunications and disputes.

Use a work schedule app

Employee scheduling applications like Ximble can allow you to generate schedules, change them, approve shift, shift swap, manage time-off requests and even track employee work hours all from the convenience of your mobile phone. Additionally, employees are able to request time off using any device, which can then be approved with a click of a button.  By centralizing all your employee schedules, change requests, and work hours, you can significantly reduce the headaches and stress of holiday scheduling. The Ximble schedule maker is a great option for mobile workforce scheduling, due to its user-friendly interface, mobile compatibility and outstanding customer support team that is always standing by to help. In addition, the Ximble application includes a finely-tuned messaging tool that will allow you and your employees to maintain clear and open communication and establish a team mentality.  As we all know, miscommunications are often the source of many scheduling issues.

3. Avoid excessive overtime

With the increased traffic that your business may be experiencing during the holiday season, you may be tempted to keep specific employees on the schedule for more than forty hours per week. However, as you probably already know, this can result in you having to pay an excessive amount of overtime. While occasionally necessary, such practices could become detrimental  for your business in the long run, for it can result in a significant loss of profits and possibly, unhappy and overworked employees. To manage this, you should try to create a balance in your schedule and make sure that you do not have multiple employees working excessive overtime hours. And while the occasional overtime is acceptable, it should be limited to protect your business and employees.


The holidays can be both very busy and very stressful for businesses. With increased customer traffic, trying to balance employee requests with overtime restrictions can quickly turn into a chaotic juggling act. However, by incorporating these workforce scheduling strategies during the holiday season, you will find that efficient scheduling will save you valuable time and money and, most importantly, keep your employees motivated and productive. So, try them out and see how they work for you!

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic - Head of Marketing

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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