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How Workflows Are Affected by Employee Vacation

 The world of work is a collaborative hub of interlocking cogs. But what happens when one of those cogs jets off to the Caribbean on annual leave?

In this post, we look at how employee vacation can hamper productivity by breaking down business processes and suggest that the key to mediating these risks lies in automating workflows.

Employee Vacation

Paid vacation is, understandably, prized and valued by employees – the sun, the sea, the chance to recharge one’s batteries.

It might be a surprise to know that business owners are beginning to welcome the idea of their staff taking more vacation days too. Like many corporate trends, this one is driven by statistics rather than a sympathetic change of heart.

Studies show that there is a strong correlation between an increased number of vacation days taken and higher levels of productivity.

Taking all of the vacation you are entitled to – and not just some of it because you feel guilty taking it all off – is proven to reduce stress, improve long-term health, increase creativity, and lead to employees taking fewer unplanned sick days. All of these boost employee well-being, satisfaction and are conducive to establishing a welcoming, congenial work environment.

So, vacation is a win-win for everyone involved…or perhaps not quite.

There are many different factors that influence workplace productivity. And, when discussing the full picture of the impact of employee vacation on productivity, it would be a mistake to only consider issues affecting that individual who is away on vacation.

There are other consequences that follow from an employee’s absence from work – whether from vacation or illness. One employee’s time off can negatively affect the productivity of their colleagues and their teams if their absence interrupts workflows and disrupts business processes.

The last thing a project manager needs is a bottleneck of work and projects building up. This can quickly lead to missed deadlines and poor customer service.

When vacation handovers are conducted manually, there is always room for human error. Someone will forget an important detail and it will bring the team’s workflow crashing to a halt. And the only resolution is to wait for their colleague’s return.

When Workflows Break Down

Let’s have a look at a few scenarios to illustrate this.

Scenario 1

Sophie is the CEO of a start-up that has recently grown to 20-30 employees. As the company is still quite small, Sophie has a hands-on role that includes signing-off web design and build projects, among other reviews.

While Sophie is away on annual leave, the team back in the office realize that they need Sophie to sign-off on a new design before they can release a number of important updates to the company website, including a new marketing video. The team try to contact Sophie, but to no avail.

The changes are postponed until Sophie returns, and the team rues the lost opportunity to generate website traffic, while losing out on the number of leads that could have been generated with the video.

The solution: Automated approval workflows

Improve project management with Nintex Forms and Nintex Workflow. Make sure project managers have a clear view of the project’s progress so that no single employee’s absence can affect the approval process. It’s a great way to make sure deadlines are always met on time.

Scenario 2

Tom works at a large multi-national organization in the US-based customer success team. After a customer complains about a glitch to a new feature release to one of the company’s mobile apps, Tom is urged by his manager to contact the Head Product Team, which is based in Australia, to communicate the problems with the app.

Tom finds the contact details for Lucy (the person he needs to speak with) and sends over a detailed email describing the customer complaint and thinks nothing more about it. A few months later, Tom finds himself talking to another customer who is facing the same problem with the app.

It seems the bugs haven’t been fixed. Lucy had been away on vacation, and Tom’s email was lost in her email inbox.

The solution: Automated message notifications

Improve employee communication with Nintex Live, Nintex Workflow, Nintex Forms and Nintex Mobile. Nintex uses the power of Azure Service Bus to establish a messaging queue management system, so that no one will miss an important communication again.

Automating Workflows with Nintex

The key to avoiding these scenarios is to make sure nothing is left to chance. Automated processes can cut out the risk of human error and ensure that all bases are covered.

Nintex Workflow Cloud is a state-of-the-art cloud workflow solution that lets you connect your apps, content and records with the people who need them – allowing them to set up automated processes that help drive your business forward.


Nintex is simple, point-and-click workflow that connects every person, department and system inside (and even outside) of your business. Read more about how the Nintex Workflow Cloud can help your company implement and run effective vacation handover processes, here.


Vadim Tabakman

Nintex Technical Evangelist Vadim Tabakman is a Nintex developer with 20 years of development experience and more than nine years' experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies. He understands how SharePoint, business process automation and forms can successfully join forces in numerous industries and business scenarios to drive business adoption and success in SharePoint projects.

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