During Spring you have Spring Break, the Summer months bring family vacations, and Fall and Winter holidays follow. During this time, you prepare for an influx of PTO requests from your staff members.
Staff at your dance studio have an expectation that they’ll be able to take some PTO (paid time off) to spend their time as they please. And as a studio owner, you have the expectation that performances, parades, parties and routine classes will be staffed during this same time.
So how can you manage dance studio staff time off while keeping everyone happy?
Here are some tips that can help schedulers and staff get through the various seasons happier and healthier than ever.
Set PTO Policies at Your Dance Studio
When it comes to managing time off and employee expectations, the devil is in the details. Set clear and defined time off policies for your staff that spell out how requests may be handled during different times of the year.
Do you have blackout dates where you don’t accept PTO requests? Is your studio closed during the holiday season, say around the same time school is out? Make sure your staff knows that well in advance so they don’t save PTO hours unnecessarily throughout the year to cover time off.
How does your dance studio approve time off requests? If time off needs to be approved by a manager, director or the owner of your dance studio, state it clearly in the PTO policies.
Other things to consider including in the PTO policies at your dance studio:
- Criteria for being eligible for PTO benefits.
- The number of consecutive PTO days a teacher or staff member can take during specific seasons – is it different during the holidays than the rest of the year?
- Are there limits to the number of staff that can be out of the studio on PTO at the same time?
- The timeframe in which staff needs to submit PTO requests.
Utilize a calendar
Use a dance studio management software to create staff schedules. But don’t just stop there. Have a vacation calendar at your dance studio throughout the year to help visualize when each teacher and staff member is expected to be out of the studio.
Utilizing a calendar that shows when staff members are available and unavailable is beneficial in several ways.
- It shows your scheduling manager gaps in coverage and allows them to easily assign substitutes for classes at the studio when needed.
- When staff has the ability to select their availability on the calendar, it puts the responsibility on them to communicate their availability to you.
- It helps your staff know when others will be out of the office so they don’t rely on them as a dependency for a project or task that may need to be completed during that time.
Communicate with employees about upcoming PTO and time off requests
How many times do you have to share important studio information with parents and students for it to sink in? A lot.
The same thing applies when communicating about paid time off with your dance studio staff. It’s impossible to over-communicate.
Sharing your studio’s PTO policies and asking for updated availability on your staff calendar will need to be done on multiple occasions. Why? Because everyone’s busy, plans change and sometimes people just forget to request time off.
An important thing to remember when communicating with your staff is that PTO doesn’t have to be set in stone. If you can be flexible without sacrificing your PTO policies, offer flexibility to your staff. This goes a long way in retaining teachers throughout the year.
Bonus tip: Use a dance studio software application that makes frequent communication and sharing important news with staff easy.
Offer incentives to cover shifts
Unfortunately, there will be times when many people ask off and your studio is still open and running. This usually happens during the holiday season or during your local spring break. During those times, ensure teachers and staff know they are appreciated by offering one-time bonuses, overtime pay, and catering lunch.
Establish blackout dates
Nutcracker, parades, end-of-year recitals, you name it – there are certain times when teachers and staff can’t plan to be away from the studio. After all, that’s showbiz, kid!
By establishing blackout dates, you are not allowing teachers and staff to take planned PTO at all. Since blackout dates can get a bad rap, it’s important to limit them to big studio events rather than general time blocks themselves.
Keep PTO stress-free and meet everyone’s expectations by following these five paid time off tips at your dance studio.
Learn more about how Jackrabbit can help you manage staff PTO effortlessly by scheduling a demo with a Product Coach.