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Well this is frustrating: Why employees take off at wrong timeWell this is frustrating: Why employees take off at wrong time

How to encourage people to avoid taking time off during busy harvest season.

Darren Frye

September 22, 2017

2 Min Read

I have a handful of employees. One of my biggest frustrations is that it seems they don’t ever think about using less busy times around here to take days off. Instead, we get into harvest and suddenly they’re asking to take time off — right in the middle of when we’re the busiest. How can I deal with this or keep this from happening? — A.B., Indiana

This can be a frustrating situation for a farm owner. First, make sure you’re clear with your employees about what you expect of them. As an owner, your thought process is different — you’re thinking ahead about what’s happening next on the farm and planning for what needs to get done.

Whether your employees grew up on a farm or have worked on farms before, they still may not fully understand the importance of the time of year when asking to take time off. It could be that one of their family members scheduled something then. Or they’re thinking about how much they’ve been working lately and want some days off.

These requests from employees can lead to distress and frustration with the farm owner.

To be fair, we may not have been proactive about helping employees think the way that we do as an owner. We assume they know what needs to get done in the future, but that’s likely not the case.

Get your employees together during a less busy time to ask them what days they will want to take off before the upcoming busy season. Tell them why you’ll need all of them in full force. Explain that you don’t want them to be disappointed if requests for lots of time off during a busy season aren’t granted.

It’s the farm leader’s job to help employees take the mindset of seeing that there are consequences to a decision like taking time off during harvest. They may not have considered the impact on the farm or their co-workers.

Encourage your employees to take time off during downtimes. Share the importance of needing them during busy seasons. Help them make plans to think ahead and have things squared away at home, so that when the busy time hits, everyone on the farm can be rested, focused and safe.

Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions. Look for his blog, Finance First, at this website.

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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