With growing popularity of no-limit vacations policies and flexible working hours, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the days of attendance tracking are soon to be gone, at least in some industries.

Yet, I will argue that absence tracking is a key process for companies that want to maintain a transparent team schedule and a well-balanced workload. It’s just the focus tends to be less on controlling the individuals and more on being able to plan the work in an optimal way.

This text outlines key steps you need to take in order to build an absence tracking process that is easy to maintain. This approach requires you to take advantage of digital tools, so that your team can collaborate with you. A spreadsheet is a possible choice but it has fewer options than dedicated resource management tools: apps for absence tracking are often equipped with reporting features or a vacation request workflow.

Let’s go through the essential steps of introducing leave management at your company. Each point will be accompanied with a quick instruction on how Teamdeck can be of benefit here.


Establish a vacation policy

That’s the necessary step of creating any processes that have to do with time off. Perhaps you’ve already created a set of rules that works well for your team. In that case you can move to the next point.

If your vacation policy is yet to be created or is a work in progress, then make sure to cover these aspects:

  • Types of absences (sick leave, sabbatical, maternity leave etc.),
  • Compensation per vacation type (which types of absences are compensated for?),
  • Number of paid vacation days per employee (does it change over time?),
  • Minimum advance notice when requesting holidays.

When you’re done with drawing up the rules, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your policy relevant for part-time workers and/or freelancers?
  • Is it a big cultural change for the employees? Should you run a team consultation?
  • Does your policy covers less common cases? For example, what happens when someone doesn’t “use” all of their allotted vacation days during the year?

Your vacation policy needs to be clearly communicated to existing employees and become a part of onboarding for the new hires.


How can Teamdeck help?

As an organization admin you can choose from a variety of uploaded absence types or add your own. Absence types are customizable: you can edit their names, assign color codes and specify whether they’re paid or not. Now when your employees need to request a vacation, they just have to pick a type from the list.

time off reasons in Teamdeck

Simplify the time off request workflow

Raise your hand if you have ever been a part of a long email chain when just trying to secure a day off. I’m sure most of you have. It’s not efficient and frustrating for employees and managers alike.

This is why a time off request workflow needs to be planned and implemented. Ideally, you want to eliminate the need for back and forth. You can do it by using vacation request forms that include all details that are necessary to inform a decision. The same goes for the manager’s response: whether the request was approved or refused, the employee needs to be notified as soon as possible.


How can Teamdeck help?

The vacation request & approval process is happening within the app, thus saving you potential communication chaos.
Employees can request a vacation by clicking on a selected date and filling out a short form.

time off request in Teamdeck

Managers receive the request right away and can respond immediately. Once a new vacation request is approved, the team calendar is updated accordingly.

Make absences visible for key team members

This point could also titled “make absences visible for all team members” but this depends on your workplace transparency policy. While it’s completely understandable that not all of the team members need to access everyone else’s absence calendars, the same cannot be said for project managers, team leaders or new business developers. Anyone who is tasked with planning projects (or securing new ones – hence the sales team), should be able to see who’s available to work. Otherwise team’s true capacity will be unknown, which can lead to major planning blunders.

Having a transparent team calendar boosts the everyday efficiency as well: people don’t need to ask around in order to find out if someone on their team is working that day or not.  


How can Teamdeck help?

Teamdeck’s core feature is a powerful team calendar, where you can see everyone’s availability, assignments and timesheets. People who are away on vacation can be quickly spotted.

Resource scheduling calendar

You also don’t have to worry when assigning longer work assignments to your team members. Days off will be automatically skipped (unless you specify otherwise) and so will bank holidays.

Summarize the data

If you don’t follow an unlimited vacation policy, you need a way to collect the tracked absences and compare it with everyone’s vacation allowance. It could be a simple spreadsheet, or you could summarize data directly in the resource management tool of choice. Make sure to distinguish between different absence types as not all of them will probably count into the yearly allowance.

Collecting absence-related data can help you better plan your team’s work in the future. Try to identify recurring patterns. Perhaps there are periods when sick leaves are significantly more common? When do people tend to request their longest vacation periods? Such insights are helpful when drafting a production calendar for the months ahead.  


How can Teamdeck help?

Teamdeck keeps track of everyone’s time off. Head to the report section and select a Time off report template to generate a report that will answer the following questions for you:
– how many vacation days were taken by your employees?

– which types of absences were taken by particular people?

– how much vacation allowance has everyone left? (You can enter a different allowance for each person if needed).

Absence tracking report in Teamdeck

Ready to improve your team’s absence tracking workflow?

There really is no good reason to stick with time-consuming procedures and relying on outdated forms when it comes to absence tracking. A robust process will help you manage leaves in an efficient and orderly fashion. For additional powers, consider using software that’s been designed to simplify this process. Schedule a call with Aniela to discuss the most efficient absence tracking processes for your team.

Start tracking your team’s absences today

Related posts

HR, Team happiness

5 ways to increase employee engagement

When you think about how to improve your company’s chances of success, employee engagement is probably not what first comes to mind. Initially, you’d rather focus on aspects such as performance, motivation and skills development. After all,...