Tempo Timesheets Tip of the Month: Vacation Planning in Tempo

Have you wondered how Tempo’s time planning and planning approvals process can help your team plan and manage time for this year’s staff vacations? Look no further — we’ve got you covered!

As we inch closer to vacation season, in this issue of Tempo’s Tip of the Month, we’ll show you how you can create internal issues or activities for employee vacation time, how to plan time on those issues or activities, and how to implement Tempo’s approvals process to make sure that your team remains in sync, so you’re not finding yourselves understaffed and in a pinch.

Setting Up Vacation Time

Setting up internal issues and activities in JIRA and Tempo for employees to log their time against is easy. Many organizations use internal issues for logging employee time on things like sick time, vacation time, meetings, travel time, and much more.

In Tempo, there is a difference between Internal Issues and Internal Activities. Internal Issues refer to JIRA issues that users will log work against (i.e., by creating worklogs) in Tempo, while Internal Activities are used for planning and allocating internal time — vacation time, for instance. Organizations that wish to be able to plan and allocate time relating to internal issues should configure Internal Activities as well.

Internal Issues are configurable by JIRA and Tempo administrators by doing the following:

  • Log in with the Tempo administrator permission
  • Select Administration from the Tempo drop-down menu in the top navigation bar
  • Choose Internal Issues
  • Then, select an existing JIRA Issue and convert it to an Internal Issue, or add an internal Issue to the list of available Internal Issues

Setting up Internal Issues

Likewise, Internal Activities are configurable by JIRA and Tempo administrators by doing the following:

  • Log in with the Tempo administrator permission
  • Select Administration from the Tempo drop-down menu in the top navigation bar
  • Choose Internal Activities
  • Click the Add Activity Button to add it to the list of available Internal Activities

An Internal Activity for vacation planning can be a Project (e.g., “Staff 2013 Non-Working Days” or “Staff Vacation 2013”), in which case the Activity will fall below the Project umbrella, and will display in a Project Timesheet view or in the Project Calendar view, which is specifically for time planning. An Activity can also be designated as a Version or a Component for more granular designations.

Once an Internal Activity is assigned for ‘Staff Vacation 2013’ (or something similar), and an Internal Issue is also created for vacation time, we can plan and log time in Tempo.

Planning Vacation Time

Once an Internal Activity has been created, Tempo Team Members can plan time against that Activity. They can do so by clicking the Plan Time button, which is located at the top of every screen within Tempo. This opens up the Plan Time dialog, where users can plan their vacation time for one day or for a concurrent series of days by adding the dates, number of hours, and a brief description.

Tempo Plan Time dialog

Alternatively, vacation time can be planned for the Internal Activity on a User’s timesheet by selecting Activities in the Views list so the activity displays on the timesheet. In the Team and Project timesheets, Internal Activities will automatically display. By clicking on a cell in the activity line, the Plan Time dialog will open.

Plan for Another User

Tempo Team Leaders can also plan time for their Team Members using the Plan Time dialog, where they can select the user they want to plan time for in the User Picker.

Plan Time for Another

Users can also plan time directly in the ‘Staff Vacation 2013’ issue view by selecting the Plan Time link from the issue Action list.

Tempo Issue Planning

Issue and Activity planning is also possible in the Tempo Calendar view by clicking in a cell in the calendar and then opening up the Plan Time dialog.

Tempo Calendar Planning

Planned time generally displays as orange in Tempo (unless a custom color is assigned to it), while logged time displays as green.

Viewing Planned Time

Organizations may not only desire to have employees’ plan their vacation ahead of time for logistical purposes, but they often need to plan around that vacation time as well.

It’s important for Team Leaders to be able to glance at planned vacation times to work around any foreseeable staff shortages when considering project plans, or conversely, to look at scheduled projects and timelines when deciding whether to approve or reject an employee’s requested time off (more on that below!). Likewise, Team Members may need to view their planned time on other projects and activities when deciding whether a particular period is an appropriate time to take a vacation.

There are a number of ways that users can view planned time in Tempo. Tempo’s Calendar views are intended for planning purposes, and enable users to view who is planned to work (or not work) during a given timeframe. If Tempo’s planning feature is enabled, users can view calendars by User, Team, or Project by week or by month. In this view, a user’s planned time, including vacation time and time planned on other Activities and Issues, is visible. Likewise, planned time can be viewed by Team and by Project in the Tempo Calendar view.

Team Calendar Planning View

If the Project that the Internal Activity for vacation planning (e.g.,“Staff 2013 Non-Working Days” or “Staff Vacation 2013”) is visible, users have browse permission to view planned vacation time for that period.  This means that Team Leaders who are determining whether to approve a Team Member’s requested vacation time, or whether to staff more people on a Project, given other members’ absence, can use easily these views as a guided reference.

Individual User, Project, and Team timesheets are a good way to view weekly or monthly schedules and workloads, and to determine who is available and scheduled to work on a particular project, and who will be or would like to be out of the office. Tempo’s timesheet views also display planned and logged work by color, which makes it super easy to see whose time has been allocated for what.

Team Timesheet Planning

Tempo’s Vacation Approvals Process

Another way to ensure that your team isn’t understaffed for an important deadline, and to help keep track of user requests, is by utilizing Tempo’s Planned Time Approvals process. This feature is a Labs feature, and needs to be configured in the Tempo Global Configuration by a JIRA administrator.

Tempo Planned Time Approvals Request

If enabled, users can plan their vacation time using the Plan Time dialog, which will display a list of reviewers to choose from to approve their planned time request. This list of possible reviewers is particularly useful if a team’s usual manager is out of the office.

tempo-planning-approval-reviewer

Once planned time has been requested, the plan status is displayed in the user’s timesheet cell(s) with a yellow background. This indicates that vacation time has been requested but has not yet been approved. If the vacation time is approved, the background color changes from yellow to green. If the cell is red, it means that their reviewer has rejected the planned vacation time, and if it’s blue, it means there is more than one status for planned time on that date.

Planning Approval Select Reviewer

The planning approvals process will be displayed in the requesting employee’s Activity Stream if he has selected to view all Tempo Activity in their dashboard. Likewise their supervisor will also be notified if a planned vacation request has been submitted.

Tempo Activity Stream Vacation Approved

We hope these planning features will help your team stay on track, avoid disaster, and enjoy some well-deserved R&R this holiday season — stay safe!

Ahh, vacation!

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Jessie
Jessie is a New York transplant living in Reykjavík. Her motto is #ABL—always be learning— and having some fun along the way. As the head of marketing, communications & legal initiatives at Tempo, Jessie thinking about storytelling, building a strong brand, growth, teamwork, and grit.

36 Responses

  1. […] Tempo Tip of the Month: Vacation Planning in Tempo […]

  2. […] Tip of the Month: Vacation Planning in Tempo […]

  3. Nicolas says:

    Hi, is there a way to show the team calendar view (read only) to users who are not team managers ?
    It would be useful for others to see teammates planned vacation!

  4. Malte says:

    Hi,
    we are thinking about using vacation planning and planning approval process.
    Problem is our current vacation approval process needs more than one approval.
    1. The team manager has to approve the vacation time.
    2. The department head approves the plan.
    3. Human resources checks if the team member is eligible for the number of vacation days planned.
    The last step could possibly be “logs the vacation time if approved …”.
    Is there a way to enhance the planning process in that way? Or to create issues automatically and start a custom workflow?
    To automatically log vacation time, if the plan gets final approval would be a really nice touch.

  5. Jacek says:

    Is there an option to monitor available vacation time utilization during the year for each user?
    It is crucial for every functional manager to see how many days employee has used out of avaiable in current year.

  6. Radim Drinka says:

    Hi,

    nice features, but:
    – if I plan time (e.g. for vacation) and select a reviewer (who should approve), he receives an email with NO link to my request. So he has to look in my timesheet and look for it. This isn´t handy at all, a link in the email would help.
    – we would need some additional information, such as: user plans and logs vacation. We would like to see, how many vacation days he has left (until the end of the year). Is there a possibility to set this up in the administration?

    Otherwise – I recommended Tempo in the company and it has been accepted immediately since Tempo is such a powerful tool!

    Thank you in advance for your reply!

    Kind regards,

    Radim Drinka

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Radim,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Glad to hear that your organization is happy using our Tempo products.

      We’ve received a few request from users asking for the same thing (having a link to a request in the email). However you do get a link to the request if you are using the Tempo Activity Stream provider. Then you’ll be able to see a clickable link.

      Unfortunately it’s not possible to view how many vacation days a user has left until the end of the year yet. I encourage you to submit this as a feature request here so other users can vote on it as well.

      Hope this helps

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  7. RKA says:

    Hi,
    Great tool that we’re doing a trial on these days.

    I’m now testing the vacation planning possibilities and ran into a problem. I can’t plan vacation in July( now in January). On the Period Management page a see that there has not been created periods months after April.

    How can I open periods 12 months ahead?

    brgds RKA

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi RKA,

      Thank you for the kinds words! It’s great to hear that you’re happy with our product.

      I had a word with our support staff and we think this problem might be related to a setting you have in your global configurations. Your configurations might be set that Users are allowed to register time into future by 90 days, instead of having it set to 360 days. Check out our documentation page on Time Tracking Permissions and Validation for a tutorial on how to change these settings.

      Hope this will solve your problem!

      However, if this doesn’t fix the problem then could you please send our support staff more details of your problem via email at support(at)tempoplugin.com?

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  8. Prayut says:

    Hi,

    In addition to the features available for vacation management. I wanted to know if following things can also be done.

    1. View balance leave (As I understand from comments a request has been created for this issue)
    2. Select multiple reviewers for Planned time approvals. Notification should sent also to multiple reviewers.
    3. Once rejected notify the applicant.
    4. Once approved notify multiple users or full team.

    Regards
    Prayut

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Prayut,

      1. Yes, you can for example create an Internal Issue for employees with a only certain amount of hours available for that particular issue. So you can always monitor how many hours users they have logged and see how much they have left available. We recently created a short video tutorial of the Internal Issues, check it out here.

      2. Unfortunately no, it’s not possible to select multiple reviewers for Planned time approvals.

      3. With the Planned time approvals, the user is notified with a different colour of his planned time in his timesheet. Planned time is displayed with an orange bar in the timesheet but it turns green once the planned time has been approved and dark orange if it’s rejected by the manager. Learn more here.

      4. No, this feature is not possible at this time in Tempo Timesheets yet.

      We encourage you to submit a feature request here and have other users vote on it.

      If there’s anything else that we can assist you with or if you have any additional question then please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at support@tempoplugin.com.

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  9. Chris says:

    Hello,

    Is it possible to limit the maximum time allowed for a specific internal activity? We don’t want our employees to put more than 8h/d for vacations.

    Thanks.

    Chris

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Chris,

      Unfortunately no it’s not possible to set a maximum limit on internal activity. However, we value feedback and comments on how we can make Tempo Timesheets better, so if you have a feature request, please create an issue so other users can vote on it here.

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  10. Marc says:

    Hi,

    we tried the Vacation Approvals Process and liked the yellow and green background in the timesheet.

    But this is only visible in the team view, if one changes the view to project to plan something there the yellow and green background is gone.

    Can it somehow be done to see the vacation days there?

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Marc,

      The Approvals process should be display in all of the views whether it’s the User, Project, Team, Advanced, and Issue timesheet view. The planned time should reflect in all of these timesheets.

      I’ll give you an example here has user Lars Petersen planned: 8 hour vacation on 28th of July.
      See image: http://imgur.com/tzYdwUl

      This planned vacation reflects in the team timesheet for the 28th of July: http://imgur.com/Tv8ZYEk
      and also in the project timesheet: http://imgur.com/6crKEYH

      Hope this helps

      If you need any further assistance then please don’t hesitate and contact us

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

      • Marc says:

        Ah,

        I got it and now I see the “problem”. The vacation is only shown in the project where the internal vacation issue is but not in others where I am. Why is it not shown in all of them?

  11. Marc says:

    Hi,

    and another question…. :)

    In the time sheet view we have days only, my boss finds it very attractive if we could group the times in weeks, months and years there. Is that possible already or is this planned?

  12. Robert Salera says:

    I am stuck on how to set up Internal issues and activities in TEMPO. Do I need to setup a project with tasks to do this? My goal is to track time not related to a client project (i.e. Vacation, sick days, etc.)

  13. Marc says:

    Hi,

    and yet another question…. ;)

    Is there a way to get vacation data from Exchange and integrate it in Tempo?

    Greetings

    Marc

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Marc,

      No currently we don’t have a specific way to get vacation data from Exchange in Tempo.

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  14. Marc says:

    Hi again,

    we have now mutliple internal issues for not work related and recurring tasks like “teach new coworkers”.

    In Timesheets Team View and reports I have alle aggregated times, is it possible to show this without specific issues we use for vacation days?

    Or how can I have a silimar view like the Team View only with the worked hours?

    Maybe you have a better approach?

    Thanks!

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Marc,

      Unfortunately you can’t exclude one internal issue from another in the team timesheet view. However you can group your project by components and have vacation as a one component. From the project timesheet you can then view a specific component.

      But probably the easiest way would be for you to create a JIRA filter with all of the internal issues you want, excluding vacation days and viewing that filter from the advanced timesheet. Here’s a tutorial on how to use filters in Tempo Timesheets: http://blog.tempo.io/2015/tempo-timesheets-tip-month-using-filters-tempo-timesheets/.

      Hope this helps!

      Best regards,
      Bjarki

  15. […] Here’s a more detailed post about vacation planning in Tempo Timesheets […]

  16. evabakhtiar says:

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  17. That article was amazing, I am very much impressed with your thoughts. I got the best information from this site of the blog, It’s very useful to all and us. Thanks for sharing this post.

  18. […] In this case we’ll create an internal issue and an activity for employee vacation planning with Tempo Timesheets, plan time as a team member on an internal activity, and show how to implement Tempo Timesheets’ approval process to make sure that you, as a manager or a team lead, and your team remain in sync. This use case is an updated version of previous Tempo Timesheets tip of the month.  […]

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