Everyone wants time off in August, especially if they have children, says Meredith
Everyone wants time off in August, especially if they have children, says MeredithReuters

It may be referred to as the 'silly season' but managing your team effectively over the summer holiday months is a serious business.

In some cases it can be an extremely difficult juggling act and if not managed properly can leave both clients and employees unhappy.

The first challenge is planning the summer holiday rota. It needs to be fair but also leave you with enough recourse to keep the company ticking over.

Everyone wants time off in August, especially if they have children. Here, some may suggest that a first come first served approach works best however, this can lead to a blood bath.

It has been known for some people to book great chunks of time off during the summer, as soon as they return to work on 2 January, even before they know what they are doing or where they're going.

The alternative is to look at who had the best slots off last year and try and let people who missed out then get first dibs.

Another idea is to set a maximum duration that people can take during peak holiday times. This should stop people being absent for great swathes of the summer.

Remember though, while parents would like to be with their kids in the summer holidays, people without children surprisingly also like to take time off in August.

It's important that some leniency is shown to them as they are relied upon all year to pick up much of the flack around school holidays.

Whilst being fair, you also have to be firm. Clients must not see a dip in service during this period so it is essential that rules are there so that each customer has at least one regular team member working on it.

Effective communication with the client is also important here. Make sure they are aware of who is going to be on holiday and when. Therefore they're not going to get any nasty surprises when your out of office appears in their inbox.

Introduce them well beforehand to their main point of contact while you're away, keeping them cced into everything so they can literally pick up from where you left off.

Another good tip is to get well ahead of yourself in terms of client work. That way if there is a dip in productivity (it is only natural that there is), you have mitigated some of its effects.

With regards to other procedures to put in place it is essential that everyone, no matter what level in the company they are at, produce a full and detailed handover.

Failing to do so will leave people in the lurch. If colleagues are well briefed before you leave then picking things up will be so much easier when you return.

The final thing to remember is to make sure that everyone has had some sort of a break in the summer. It may sound strange but there are people who forget to take great chunks of their holiday.

After all, the last thing people want is to get to the end of the year and have more days owing in holiday than there are left to work.

The last thing an employer wants is for his or her team to burn themselves out.

Everyone needs a holiday at some point in the summer, only if it is to get away from the office.

Chris Meredith is the CEO of officebroker.com.