Annual Leave: Why UAE CFOs cold about your summer break
Even as lean summer months no longer impact businesses in the country as they once used to, a majority of UAE finance leaders acknowledge that this time of the year still has a negative impact on company bottom lines, according to new research.
The harsh summer months in the UAE and the Gulf usually see a number of residents, both local and expats, avail of their annual vacations to travel to cooler climes.
This is a period that has traditionally been associated with long school holidays, fewer tourist arrivals and slower financial as well as property markets across the region.
The summer months are well underway in the UAE, and an overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of senior finance executive polled by an independent research firm for recruitment specialist Robert Half UAE say their businesses are negatively impacted by the accompanying lull.
The other seven per cent believe summer months have no impact on their businesses.
According to the findings of the poll, the top three reasons for the business impact are
#1 Annual leave (46 per cent)
#2 Less managerial direction for teams with senior leaders absent (27 per cent)
#3 Lost productivity (19 per cent)
In addition, while more than one-third of respondents (35 per cent) say commercial activity will slow down, a further 13 per cent say their workforce is less motivated over the summer months.
“The summer months often results in a slowdown of commercial activity for many UAE businesses,” says Gareth El Mettouri, UAE Associate Director of Robert Half.
“This is a good opportunity for employers to encourage employees to take their annual leave.
“By preparing for the slowdown of activity and employees taking annual leave, businesses can optimise use of resources and focus on completing unfinished projects,” he notes.
“Encouraging your employees to take advantage of the summer months to relax and recharge will see them return to work higher morale and increased productivity.”
As many employees take their annual vacations during this period, most businesses are expected to run as usual in order for them to cater to their international and local clientele.
In such a scenario, employers can motivate those still working to perform at their optimum levels by following a structured approach.
Robert Half offers five recommendations developed for companies to ensure their employees can leave on holidays stress-free:
Have a team plan: As a team, asses what projects need to be completed over the summer months, and where possible each employee can understand what responsibilities they have and can schedule their work and holiday in advance.
Be prepared: It is important for colleagues to understand expectations and deadlines so that all tasks are completed. Good preparation and clear agreements in what needs to be managed will mean that teams feel supported and have the ability to carry out their work with direction.
Allow flexibility: Employees who have the ability to work flexibly leading up to their holiday will be more inclined to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.
Encourage annual leave: Everyone is entitled to a minimum number of holidays and it is important to encourage the use of them. Employees who take their holidays are generally more satisfied and productive throughout the year.
Appoint a leader while you are away: With managerial direction being one of the biggest impacts on lost productivity, it is important that your team know who they can go to for advice.
This is also a good opportunity to offer one of your employees a chance to develop their leadership skills, and ability to handle certain tasks without direction.
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