How To Make Holiday Scheduling Predictable

Planner page with Christmas gift boxes and decoration around. 25th of December marked with red circle on calendar. Xmas preparation concept.

The workplace is often rife with stress during the holiday season as demand heightens and staff works hard to keep things running smoothly. Unsteady staff scheduling also plays a significant role in the overwhelming elements of work during the holidays. Staff scheduling is a common issue, but it certainly doesn’t have to be.

There are many benefits to developing more appropriate schedules for staff members during the holidays. Appropriate schedules can help reduce an array of related workplace stresses, and it presents both managers and employees with numerous work-related benefits.

Let’s explore the benefits of stable holiday scheduling.

Components of Unstable Scheduling

In the effort to provide more stable schedules for holiday staffing, managers need to examine each of the following components to determine whether their offerings promote poor scheduling practices.


  • Schedule Flexibility
  • Stability Variations
  • Adequate Hours
  • Standard vs. Non-Standard Time
  • Schedule Predictability

There are a few requirements from managers to create stable holiday schedules.  Managers must ensure they are providing adequate hours, reasonable pay, steady shift timing, and relative predictability. Holiday staff members typically don’t find inadequate, quickly changing schedules rewarding enough to continue pre- and/or post-holiday employment.

Developing Stable Schedules

To develop stable holiday schedules, it’s necessary to adopt practices that make scheduling more transparent and easy to plan.


To start working towards a stable schedule, the first step is to schedule as far in advance as possible. Carefully examine your schedule in order to ensure business compliance. When the schedule is thoroughly examined, the company in question can avoid legal issues involving overtime and lunch break requirements.

Post staff schedules one full month in advance where possible. Once the schedule is made available to staff members, allow for changes within a reasonable amount of time, but avoid late and last-minute changes to the plan. Allow staff members to trade shifts with one another, but require changes to be brought to the manager’s attention.


Finally, offering employees flexible scheduling around the holidays can make it easier for them to take part in their own holiday celebrations around their work schedules. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, or even at the same times, which you can leverage to both adequately staff your shifts while also keeping employees happy.


Poorly planned, constantly changing shift schedules only make the holidays more difficult than necessary. Having a concrete schedule planned can be beneficial in reducing workplace stress.

Benefits of Stable Schedules

With stable, yet flexible scheduling around the holidays, employees tend to feel more valued and respected at work. In addition, stable schedules produce the following benefits.


  • Stable schedules improve employee loyalty.
  • Stable, yet flexible scheduling reduces holiday stress, for both managers and employees alike.
  • When employees have stable, predictable schedules, they’re more likely to work more efficiently and experience a boost in morale at work.
  • Stable schedules reduce absenteeism.
  • Employees feel that they’re understood and appreciated when given a stable, yet flexible schedule.

The holidays are a stressful time for plenty of people, professionally and personally. Providing your team with a bit more certainty around the holiday season can help reduce additional workplace stresses and get your business through the holiday season. Often, a reliable schedule can not only smooth out the holiday weeks but can also help businesses end the year on excellent terms.



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