Substitution rules for vacation and illness

13. September 2022

Why substitution rules?

Substitution rules help to keep the business running when individual employees get sick or go on vacation. However, many companies do not have clear substitution rules. Employees then either take care of the tasks that have been left behind when they return, or the work is divided up among colleagues as it suits them. What may work in some cases can also cause some problems.

Often work is left undone during the absence because no one feels responsible or there was simply no time to take care of it. Important mails are not answered because the appropriate contact person is out of the office. Without automatic forwarding or a ticket system, the message then disappears for a long time in the personal mailbox. If the substitute is not sufficiently informed, mistakes are more likely to happen. Responsibilities are not clear or processes are unknown. This leads to more coordination effort and increases the error rate.

Recommendations for the substitution arrangement

To ensure that operations continue as smoothly as possible when employees become ill or go on vacation, you should take the following recommendations to heart in advance:

  • Find a suitable substitute: The substitute should have the necessary skills to take over the tasks. This means both professional qualifications and authorization within the company.
  • Clarify tasks: Together, determine the tasks that the substitute should take over during the absence (e.g., project substitution or day-to-day business). This will clearly define the responsibilities.
  • Clarify time scope: In addition to the duration of the substitution, you should also discuss how much time per day or per week the substitute should spend on the tasks taken over.
  • Information and access: Make sure your substitute has access to all the information needed to complete the task. This includes passwords, accounts, and paper records if necessary.
  • Organize handover: Schedule a meeting to bring your proxy up to speed and resolve any outstanding issues.

Challenges in times of Hybrid Work

At the latest since the pandemic, many companies are working hybrid. Some employees work from home, others in the office. Distributed collaboration can make representation more difficult if employees are not sufficiently integrated into company processes.

You then don’t always get to see who is working on what, because the usual exchange “over the grapevine” is eliminated. This problem is exacerbated when employees store their work locally on their computers rather than on a shared platform. If the employee in question goes on vacation, the substitute lacks access to the required information and documents.

Many companies therefore use an ERP system to handle business processes centrally and digitally. However, complex authorization structures are often set up in the software to protect sensitive data and limit access to individual employees or departments. If the substitute does not have the same rights from the start, these must be activated by the administrator for the duration of the substitution and then withdrawn again. With the projectfacts enterprise software you save this trouble.

Automatic substitution rules with projectfacts

The projectfacts business software supports you with the substitution regulation. If an employee is sick or on vacation, the substitute automatically inherits all necessary rights and accesses within the software to be able to represent the set areas.

Define substitution areas

In the configuration, you can define in general for the company which task areas a substitute may take over. You can find the option in the “Users & rights” category under Settings in the “Worker” section. The “Representative areas” field allows you to choose between several options, the most common being the following:

  • Vacation Approval: If the employee reviewing leave for a specific department or the entire company is absent themselves, leave requests will be forwarded to the substitute.
  • Ticket Notifications: Notifications about tickets that an employee receives via popup through the ticket module are also sent to the substitute during the absence. This keeps the team in the picture when a ticket is received or escalated for the colleague.
  • Checks: Travel expenses, records or commissions – a number of different items can be checked in the system before release. If the responsible reviewer is sick or on vacation, the substitute is automatically notified. The substitute is then authorized to issue the release.

Set up individual substitution

Who is to be represented by whom can be set up via the HR module. The “Worker details” tab takes you to the “Employee – Master data” section. Authorized persons will find the two fields “Representative” and “Representative areas” there. Use the first field to set which colleague should substitute the selected employee. An employee can have one substitute at a time. With the help of the areas you regulate the scope of the substitution rule. Here you can choose between the options that were previously enabled in the configuration.

If requested, employees can also set up substitutions on their own. Messages received via the substitute rule can be easily distinguished from those addressed directly to the employee in question by means of a short note in the notification.

Try out substitution rules

You would like to test the substitution rules directly in projectfacts?
Then please contact our consulting team, we will support you with the setup.

You can get a free test account here.

Header image: © pressfoto – (2022)