How to Properly Manage Medical Leaves During the Holidays?

How to Properly Manage Medical Leaves During the Holidays?

The holiday season is the perfect time for a well-deserved break. The stress accumulated over the year often culminates in a vacation or medical leave. While this is a time for relaxation and disconnection for employees, it becomes a huge responsibility for employers. The human resources department works hardest before the holidays, precisely because they need to plan leave management. Even at the leadership level, there’s significant pressure to satisfy each employee.

In the medical field, work processes cannot come to a halt, not even during the holiday days. Whether it’s emergency hospitals, private clinics, or individual practices – patient needs must be met precisely. Ultimately, shifts must be completed, and interventions carried out as expected. But how can you balance the workflow so that medical staff do not feel exhausted or overworked? There are plenty of strategies, but you need to pay special attention to every detail, no matter how insignificant it may seem at first.

Read also 10 Essential Steps for a Patient-Focused Clinic

How can you efficiently manage the granting of medical or rest leaves?

There is no standard answer to this question – it’s a combination of practices meant to optimize daily activities and, consequently, team productivity. Clearly, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when the expectations of both staff and patients are at stake. One thing is certain – everyone should have the opportunity to manage their holiday schedule properly.

As Christmas and New Year approach, time spent with family and friends becomes much more precious. Also, the rush for special gifts and smiles from loved ones inevitably becomes a priority. That’s why many wish to enjoy an extended holiday at the end of the year. As a manager or head of a department, you are directly responsible for the holiday planning policy.

Don’t worry, here are some strategies that can relieve the stress associated with managing rest periods for employees:

Adopt a Standard Policy and Communicate Openly with Employees

Inform your employees from the beginning about how leave is granted in your institution. Many adopt the ‘first come, first served’ rule, although it’s not always fair. It’s better to implement a clever system where everyone can enjoy their well-deserved vacation.

To avoid the risk of only a few employees resting during the holidays, establish a rotation-based schedule. Specifically, give everyone a chance to enjoy Christmas or New Year’s Day off once a year. The granting method can be based on the specific responsibilities of the staff and the number of emergency cases. Ensure all shifts are covered and that there are enough specialists in the institution. This way, you prevent unforeseen situations or last-minute scheduling.

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Set Dates for Submitting Leave Applications

Make sure you handle the bureaucratic aspects correctly and have a clear record of leave planning. Communicate to specialists the deadline for submitting applications and establish rules for resolving potential misunderstandings. It’s very likely that two employees might request leave for the same period. What do you do in such a case? It would be advisable to consider seniority in the company and performance over time. Staff with excellent results have priority. This is a great way to show respect and appreciation for valuable resources.

To avoid contradictory discussions and team tensions, let your employees negotiate their break period among themselves. It’s a perfect exercise in trust and mutual support. Plus, it’s an initiative that facilitates creating a friendly environment centered on employee needs.

Consider the Company’s Needs

In addition to employee opinions, you should also consider the specific objectives of the medical institution. Carefully evaluate the activity flow and special requirements of the patients. In emergency hospitals, it may be quite difficult to grant medical leaves, especially to front-line staff. In such cases, staff supplementation is more than necessary.

Try to gather enough resources to avoid the risk of overcrowding. The absence of a professional can significantly hinder the workflow if there isn’t an adequate replacement. Think ahead about the optimal number of doctors, nurses, orderlies, or auxiliary staff. Also, assess your budget and see if you can grant more paid leaves around the holidays.

Check this out: Paid and Unpaid Leave for Dental and Healthcare Practice Owners

Make sure the Medical Leave Policy is Easy to Understand

Conduct regular meetings with the medical team to eliminate communication errors and consequently, problems in organizing leaves. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and discuss in detail about the specific hustle and bustle of the holidays. Also, ensure that the policy is written somewhere and that every employee can easily access it. Avoid complex terms. Explanations should be clear, coherent, and as concise as possible.

Nobody wants to spend hours finding out how to submit a leave request. Also, facilitate rapid communication with the HR department, in case you cannot intervene. Flexibility is essential in such cases. Even if appointments for consultations have doubled in the period leading up to Christmas or New Year, promote the importance of shift exchanges.

Read also: Healthcare Recruitment Strategies for the Start of the New Year

Medical Leave is a Right, Treat it as Such

Many employees choose to come to work, even if their physical or mental state does not allow them to complete all activities. No matter how hectic life in the medical industry is, a sick employee can only create more problems. For example, the cases of illness can increase significantly from one day to the next – which damages overall productivity and professional satisfaction. Do not support such behavior, even if the priority list is full.

Encourage your staff to rest when they feel their body is giving in. Don’t wait to make a decision until medical leave requests double. It will be much harder to manage work stages and achieve desired results at a time when every initiative counts.

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Every employee has the right to medical or rest leave, especially when they feel physically tired and psychologically exhausted. But, how do you act if there are only a few days left until the most important holidays of the year?

How can you properly manage the specific hustle, employee expectations, and the needs of the medical institution?

It’s quite difficult to balance all managerial responsibilities, but not impossible. With the right strategies, you can check off all the end-of-year priorities. It’s important to plan the granting of leaves in advance and supplement staff to avoid unforeseen situations from the start. Also, set the period for submitting applications and an effective system to apply when you receive two simultaneous requests. Invest in employee well-being, but don’t forget the specific needs of the medical institution!

Read also: How to Prevent Staff Burnout During the Holidays?

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