Project Workflow Optimisation for Holiday Season

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 06/08/2019
project workflow for holiday

This is a guide for business owners and managing directors on how to prepare their organisations for the holiday season. In this article, we will be talking about project workflow optimisation. Namely how to prepare your business for the time of the year most of your staff is taking time off.

The holiday season means that, for a couple of weeks at least, you’ll be dealing with a smaller-than-usual team. Of course, you can’t forbid your staff from taking time off to spend with their friends and family. Unfortunately, the dilemma you’re facing is that this is the time when the majority of your employees go on holiday. This usually leads to a lot of hassle in ensuring your business can meet the deadlines and deliverables when your office isn’t full.

We recently read an interesting Forbes article on the topic. It explains: ‘To make up for the shortage, companies need to implement practices and strategies to ensure the flexibility and adaptability of the remaining team.’ The article goes on to share some top tips from company leaders that will help your agency deal with the summer holiday period and keep productivity sky-high during short-staffed months. In other words, it speaks of project workflow optimisation.

What is Project Workflow Optimisation?

Project workflow optimisation is the process of analysing your workforce and resources to then apply them in a way that drives the most efficiency. In addition to that, it is also a way to reduce costs, lower the probability of errors and minimise the time spent on tasks.

Ultimately it is an umbrella term for the creation of workflows that deliver the most benefit while consuming the least resources. So, let’s talk of how can you set it in motion. 

Plan Ahead of a Holiday Rush

Start digging the well before you’re thirsty. Nothing is worse for the business than being caught off-guard by a holiday season. Not only does it affect the productivity of the company, but can also sour both internal and client relationships. This means that you need to begin preparing for the holiday season ahead of time. 

Include Holiday Schedules in Project Management Meetings

The best way of optimising project workflows when the majority of the staff is off is to bring the holiday schedules up during project management meetings. This way everyone will have visibility of who’s off when. In turn, this will help with planning collaborations around it. Constant mention of the topic will also ensure this is not something that’s easily forgotten.

You can also employ a time-off management system that every employee can access to check what team members are on holiday. This is very handy at times when unforeseen circumstances arise and decisions need to be made quickly, without waiting for a project management meeting.

Enforce an ‘On-Call’ System

Does your organisation let your employees leave early on Fridays? If so, consider enforcing an ‘on-call’ system. One member of the team is to be nominated each week to be available in the afternoon to answer urgent emails. This promotes a strong work-life balance while ensuring your agency remains diligent about your clients’ needs.

Just as this works on early-finish Fridays, it will work throughout the holiday rush. The big idea is to have at least one person available at all times.

Establish Transparency Early On

A fool-proof way of maintaining a healthy project workflow even at a lesser capacity is by creating full visibility. And by full, we mean that while it’s crucial to be done internally, it also means being transparent with your clients. To align both, we strongly suggest adopting a centralised cloud-based solution like Timesheet Portal.

Real-time Holiday Calendar for Clients

To save any potential disappointment, make your company holiday calendar visible to your clients. This is a great way to manage expectations. Being warned well in advance there may be discrepancies with project delivery can potentially save a relationship. There are many ways of doing it, including the creation of a spreadsheet.

However, given you’re likely to be time-deprived, you can export data from holiday tracking software in advance. This way all you need to do is send it to your clients. A much more efficient way than creating a spreadsheet. In fact, our Project edition allows you to send your holiday calendar straight to your client without exiting the platform. Yes, you won’t even need to export it.

Deadlines and Deliverables

By integrating project management software with a time-off platform, you will be able to create a centralised, visual project workflow dashboard. Visible to the entire team, it gives a clear picture of deadlines and deliverables, therefore enabling smarter time management.

Being able to assess the workload and the workforce available to carry it out is crucial for project delivery. Having both of these metrics centralised leads to better decision-making and higher efficiency. 

Ensuring Optimal Workflow During Holiday Season

You know that you’re meant to be a virtuoso of communication. You’re right to apply this skill set in attracting new talents, but that’s not the area you should concentrate them all. Rather, focus the majority of your effort on maintaining a good relationship with the existing contractors. It’s far cheaper to retain existing staff than it is to attract new people.

Employ a Holiday Approval System

Finally, as all the holiday requests start rolling in, it’s easy to miss a few or to accidentally let more staff off than your business can afford. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where an urgent issue arises, but only two people in the office are capable of handling it. And they are both off.

The best way of preventing such a situation is by adopting a system where you have full visibility of the holiday calendar when a new time-off request comes through. Based on the situation, you can easily either approve or deny the request in a quick, streamlined fashion. Your employees will also be grateful to hear back from you faster than expected.

Although the holiday approval system isn’t the core of our software, it’s a big chunk of it. Not only does it cover the above described, but also helps you with the automation of tedious processes like calculating holiday accruals. 


Most businesses dread the holiday season as it means being understaffed and overworked. Interrupted project workflows can also cause fallouts with the clients, lost trust or even lost revenue. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

All you need to do is think ahead and approach it strategically. The best practice is just as simple. Create full visibility for every party involved.

Anxious about the upcoming holiday season? Talk to us, we can help.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.