Having an accurate team holiday tracker means you know who has taken time off, when they’ve taken time off, and whether they’re taking enough time off. A team holiday tracker also means you know what’s coming up so you can plan staff schedules in advance.
If you don’t have a team holiday tracker yet, you might be lumbered with calendars and spreadsheets and be managing holiday requests by email or text. It’s all pretty slow and manual, and it can get really complicated as you grow.
To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, this article looks at common ways to track staff holidays and the real-world problems those methods cause.
We also look at a great alternative to inefficient, time-consuming methods. Timetastic, our user-friendly holiday tracker, is a hassle-free software that gives you an up-to-date team holiday calendar. You can start your free one-month trial right now.
Common ways to track holidays (And why they’re not great)
You might be currently using — or thinking about using — paper attendance trackers or Excel templates to keep track of your staff holidays.
If you are, you’ll likely run into one (or all) of these issues:
- Your time off calendar gets messy. This happened to Abstrakt, a digital marketing agency, before they started using Timetastic as their team holiday tracker. “We had this physical wall calendar where you’d write your time off requests. But it quickly got messy, as people often change their holidays and cross off old requests.”
- You do a lot of double work. Let’s say you’re using a shared calendar to track holidays. When someone on your team books time off, you’re stuck updating two things. First, you will have to update the shared calendar. This is the calendar everyone on your team uses to see who is off. Then, you’ll have to update the spreadsheet you’re using to track your team’s leave entitlements.
- Numbers aren’t always accurate. With these methods, there’s always the risk of human error. You can get sidetracked and forget to put down someone’s approved time off, which means your calendar’s no longer accurate. And you can forget to update someone’s leave balance, which could lead to payroll issues. This is frustrating for you because you’ll have to go through old messages to find and fix the error. But it’s a bigger pain for someone on your team who’s trying to plan a holiday.
- It isn’t easy to know (or find out) when someone’s on holiday. When you approve a holiday, you put it on a calendar. But as life goes on, you might forget to check the calendar, which means you can easily forget when someone on your team has booked a holiday. This can cause planning issues.
For example, you’ll think you have time next week to do a recap before the Q1 report, completely overlooking the fact that they’re going on holiday for the week.
These issues are a pain with even the smallest team, but they’ll become increasingly unmanageable as your company grows.
Introducing Timetastic: A hassle-free way to know when your team is on holiday
Instead of using spreadsheets or outdated attendance trackers, you can use Timetastic.
Timetastic solves the problems we mentioned earlier by taking over your holiday tracking for you. Put simply, Timetastic is a holiday tracker that keeps everything up-to-date automatically.
FYI: Timetastic is really easy for everyone to access. You can use either our mobile app (for both iPhone and Android devices) or you can log into Timetastic from your browser.
An updated and accurate holiday calendar, 100% of the time
The most important part of your Timetastic account is your company’s Wallchart:
- This is where your team members select their holiday dates.
- This is where everyone can see who has time off coming up.
- This is where you (as the manager) can see how much leave someone has left.
Because every part of your holiday tracking is handled by Timetastic, you and your entire team will always have an accurate, up-to-date calendar.
This is possible because your team books their holiday in Timetastic, so all the relevant information is stored and tracked by our software.
You don’t have to worry about taking info from text messages, emails, or notes left on your desk and moving it over to your holiday tracker. When someone on your team book’s their request in Timetastic, they put the dates they want off, as well as the type of leave they’re taking (holiday, sick leave, etc.). All the important information is stored right there.
This was a big relief for Jasmin French, the owner of a salon in Edinburgh. Before she switched to Timetastic, her team was texting her their time off requests. To update her holiday tracker, she would have to take everyone’s information and record it manually for future reference. That’s just unnecessary double work, which Timetastic eliminates.
In Timetastic, when someone’s holiday gets approved, their leave balance along with the Wallchart calendar is updated. You don’t have to do anything, and your tracking is always up-to-date.
FYI: Time off can be approved or declined by you, or by Timetastic
You can either personally review (approve or decline) your staff’s holiday requests, or you can let Timetastic handle it for you.
If you want to personally handle the request, you can get a notification through email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. From there, you can click approve or decline. Alternatively, you can log into Timetastic and see any pending requests.
If you want to free up even more of your time, you can let Timetastic handle the approval process. This is possible because you can tell Timetastic two key things:
- The maximum number of people that can be absent at any one time. You can set this number across the entire company or customise it by department.
- Any important dates that are off-limits. You can lock key dates, such as days around big sales periods, or when important reports are due.
By knowing this information, Timetastic will only approve requests that fall within your company’s holiday guidelines. Basically, you can use the software in whichever way makes most sense to you. It’s really customisable.
Stay in the loop and never get surprised by an unexpected holiday
If you’re using a spreadsheet or wall calendar to track your team’s holidays, then you’re using a passive method that’s easy to ignore. Most of us don’t get in the habit of checking the holiday calendar every day, because there usually isn’t someone on holiday every day.
But as you make plans, it’s critical that you know when someone on your team is on leave.
We do this at Timetastic by sending you email summaries.
You can get email summaries on a daily or weekly basis. The summaries tell you who on your team has a holiday coming up, or who is on holiday right now. These emails go out at the start of the day, so you can better plan your calendar.
Note: You can configure these absence summaries to get sent to you via Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Quickly see who’s in need of a break (And prevent burnout)
Taking a holiday is an important part of any job — it isn’t something you want your team to forget about. And you also don’t want everyone at your company working 11 months straight, just to try and cram their holiday into the last month of the year.
But when you’re using something like spreadsheets to track holidays, it’s challenging, and frankly just hard to remember, to look up everyone’s leave balance and see who has or hasn’t taken any holiday recently.
That’s why we made a Burnout Board. When you use Timetastic, you get access to a Burnout Board. The Burnout Board is automatically updated by Timetastic to let you know who on your team is overdue for a holiday.
This was a big win for Format, an online portfolio platform. As Jojo Alexandroff — Format’s Chief of Staff — told us, “We know how important it is to rest and recharge. Timetastic lets us encourage those who may not have taken time off in a while to get away and reset.”
Jojo and her team can easily see who needs a break by looking at their Burnout Board.
Next steps: Start your free one-month trial with Timetastic
We’ve shown you how Timetastic can be an accurate holiday tracker for you and your team. But there are extra benefits to using Timetastic that we didn’t cover already, including:
- Timetastic can pull in public holidays from over 250+ countries. A feature that’s perfect for companies all around the globe and for teams with remote workers.
- You can export your company’s annual leave record as an Excel file. This lets you control and share the information that’s being tracked in Timetastic.
- You can add in lieu days to individual employees. When you set up your Timetastic account, you set how much leave everyone gets in a year. But you can change it at any time throughout the year by adding lieu days, which some of our users do as a perk for their employees.
Like this article? Then you might enjoy:
- A review of 2 staff leave planners for Excel
- How to make an annual leave policy
- How to do leave management right (it’s easier than you think)
- Different types of annual leave software (from HR software to leave trackers)
- How to create a fair leave request policy
- A breakdown of different leave types (from sick days to sabbaticals)
- How to handle employee absences with absence management