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Make sure your team isn't caught out by Olympic fever these summer months

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: May 03, 2012

RACE: Richard Pooley (left) and Tom Hodges from Birketts, with Claire Husband from Macmillan

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WITH fewer than 100 days to go until the Olympics, the country is gearing up for six weeks of must-see sporting action.

But will businesses and managers be left in need of a holiday themselves once the excitement is over?

Experts at leading Essex law firm Birketts LLP have warned businesses they could face unprecedented levels of holiday requests during the Olympics which they need to be prepared for.

Employees might need time off to attend the Games, watch key events at home, take family holidays or just to escape the commotion.

Birketts is one of the main sponsors of the Essex Business Excellence Awards. As well as backing the Essex Business of the Year prize, they also sponsor the Green Award.

Kevin Palmer from Birketts has revealed his top five tips for businesses on how to avoid being left short-staffed: or how to face disgruntled workers who have been denied annual leave.

1. Check your contracts and annual leave policies and make sure all employees understand them.

2. Identify your staffing needs and plan accordingly.

3. Decide on your strategy and tell everyone. If you don't want to use the "first come, first served" method, there are some alternatives:

Telling teams they must agree when each member will take holiday.

Asking employees not to apply for holiday during the Games if they are indifferent as to when they take leave.

Allowing each employee a limited number of days off during the period. "Spare" days can be allocated once everyone has had the opportunity to book their allotment.

Setting a deadline for requests and drawing them out of a hat.

4. Be accommodating where possible. Consider using flexible working arrangements or temporary workers to free up employees.

Give priority at other times of year to anyone whose request was postponed.

5. Remind employees that if they fail to attend work, or call in sick in circumstances that you do not believe to be genuine, this will be dealt with under your disciplinary procedure. Follow-through if necessary.

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