By Joyce M. Rosenberg, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners may feel in a bit of a bind this summer. Just as many companies are recovering from the recession and making do with fewer staffers, it's high season for employee vacations.
Owners may feel anxiety and resentment when workers say they want time off. They may be afraid of losing customers just when the business is picking up some momentum.
The fact is, it's pretty hard to ban all employee vacations. The only companies that can realistically do that make most of their money during the summer months, such as restaurants that cater to beach-goers.
Management consultants say owners should deal with this summer's vacation requests as they would in any year. That means managing staffers' expectations about how much time they can take and when they can take it. It also means planning now for how an employee's work will be done when he or she is away.
THINK BEYOND THE SUMMER
A business owner who's tempted to say no to staffers' vacation requests needs to think about what impact that response will have on workplace morale. Also, whether it might make employees think about finding other jobs as the labor market improves.
"Don't take a hasty position that solves a problem in the short run but in the long run burns a bridge," said Leslie Yerkes, president of Catalyst Consulting Group in Cleveland.
Yerkes noted that employees will especially remember how the boss treats them during the summer, when even the most dedicated staffer will want time off. They'll also hold on to their anger if they've had to make other sacrifices, such as not getting raises and having heavier workloads due to layoffs.