Female in the snow

How to manage last minute leave over winter

In any job role, there are certain tasks that can become simple after large amounts of experience completing them. However, compared to repeatable, logical and predictable duties, something such as managing staff absence can be more difficult to control due to its unpredictable and complex nature. While it may be more challenging than normal day-to-day responsibilities, with the proper training and tools it can become much easier to cope with, yet a recent survey revealed that less than half (44%) of those responsible for handling staff leave were not trained effectively in how to manage short term absences.  This paints a picture of an obvious skills gap that must be apparent throughout UK businesses and with the winter season of sporadic, last minute leave requests fast approaching, plans need to be made to cope with the increasing demand. If you’re a line manager responsible for the scheduling and attendance of your workforce, here are some simple tips to help you through the winter period:

Create a clear policy for sickness and adverse weather

Illness and unexpected extreme weather conditions are the two most common reason for last minute leave over winter. If you haven’t been trained in how to manage staff absence, it is unlikely that you will have a clear policy in place to inform your workforce on what is expected of them in either of these situations. Make it your priority to draw up and make your staff aware of your policy so that the entire company is better prepared for these circumstances. Include what is accepted as reasons for absence, who they should inform if they won’t be able to come in and how they should do so. If it is an illness, it is also useful to gage an idea of how long the employee is likely to be unfit for work for, so that contingency plans can be made to cover their shifts or workload.


While the colder period does lend itself to many unexpected and unavoidable circumstances for absence, there may be some members of a workforce that take advantage of this. Monitor the attendance of your staff, so any concerning patterns can be highlighted and approached accordingly.

Have a clear overview of your whole workforce

If your business operates using changeable shifts, having a clear overview into the working patterns of your entire workforce can help you to strategically plan staff cover in the most effective way. An automated workforce solution such as IQtimecard will be able to offer insight into the schedules of every worker, allowing managers to respond quickly when there are rota gaps that need to be filled.

To discover how IQtimecard can help revolutionise staff management in many different ways, book a free demo online!