Small business owners are constantly searching for an edge. Whether it’s an edge over the competition or technology that puts more time in their day, gaining an advantage ultimately makes businesses more profitable.

One technology in particular has emerged as a time-saver for small businesses when it comes to managing employee time off requests – software. Cloud-based applications that provide owners, managers and staff with instant access to schedules, calendars and history are growing in popularity.

Make Sure Your Software Choice Checks Off All the Boxes

Not all time off management applications are alike. When evaluating apps, use this checklist to help you identify the cream of the crop.

  • Integration with your existing calendar. If you already use calendar software, you want your time off request app to mesh with your calendar to avoid the need to record data in multiple locations.
  • Ability to view employee requests simultaneously. One challenge posed by paper or word-of-mouth requests is not all managers are aware when multiple employees request the same day or shift off, creating a potential short-staffing scenario. The best apps allow you to view all time off requests for a given day to ensure you’re always staffed appropriately.
  • Accessibility from anywhere. This is a huge advantage for cloud-based apps vs. desktop apps. With desktop apps, you must sit in front of the computer with the loaded software to view data. With cloud-based apps, you can review data from any device, anywhere you have internet access.
  • Employee self-service features. Top of the line time off request apps allow managers to assign accessibility to employees so they can submit and manage their requests directly. This reduces the chances a manager will forget to enter a time off request, and it also sends the employees a notification when the request was responded to and lets them know whether it was approved or denied.

If employees realize an app allows them and supervisors to see time off patterns, they may think twice about constantly asking for time off on busy days, shifts or seasons. Or, if they need a certain day off regularly for important family commitments, they might realize it’s best to talk to their supervisor about blocking that day on future schedules.

  • Enhanced communication features. Whenever a request is made by an employee within the app, the manager is notified immediately. After the manager reviews the request and either approves or denies it, the employee is notified immediately. Employees and managers can include notes with their requests and responses, which provides you with a documented conversation between both parties in the event a conflict arises down the road.

We’re Here to Help

Managers and staff are more productive to when using tools that allow them to easily communicate HR requests. That’s why HRdirect Smart Apps developed a suite of cloud-based software for small business owners, including the Time Off Request app—which just happens to include all the important features mentioned above.

Key Takeaways

It’s important to look for time off software that lets:


  • Managers and employees review time off history and patterns.
  • Managers use calendar integration to keep track of all requests documented on an employee’s calendar
  • Managers and owners review which days they’re short staffed and plan accordingly
  • Managers review communications for each request to aide with conflict resolution, if necessary.
  • Employees and managers submit, respond to, and review time off requests anywhere, on any device.
  • Employees request time off for themselves and receive a notification when their supervisor has approved or denied the request.