IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

10 PTO Tracking Tips for Remote Teams

  Reading Time:

Remote work is a model that allows employees to work from home or other remote locations, rather than in a regular office environment. From 2000 to 2020, telecommuting gained traction, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when many workers had to accept the new circumstances of working from home. But even after the pandemic, the number of companies adopting this model continued to rise. In 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees will work remotely, and another 28.2% will choose a hybrid work model.

However, this significant change in the work environment brings new challenges and requires effective PTO tracking more than ever. This means HR departments need to adapt faster than ever. In this article, we'll share 10 PTO tracking tips for remote teams to help you improve your approach to remote work and adapt to a new way of working.

Choosing the right PTO tracking tool

1.The life and death of PTO tables

Many small businesses still rely on spreadsheets to manage PTO. While spreadsheets meet the basic requirements, they are not suitable for collaboration and do not provide the visibility required in dynamic environments. For growing or remote teams, this traditional approach can become cumbersome and increase the risk of errors. Additionally, if PTO rates vary based on factors such as seniority, position, or hours worked, using spreadsheets can complicate the calculations even further.

Using spreadsheets may initially seem like the perfect solution for tracking time off, but as teams grow and expand to remote locations, your approach to management should evolve accordingly.

2.The importance of a reliable PTO tracking tool

The most effective and easiest way to manage your remote teams' PTO is to use a digital tool designed exclusively for absenteeism management. Such software automates the process of PTO tracking and simplifies it for employers, HR managers, team leaders, and all members of your global team. Additionally, all leave requests are consolidated on a single platform, allowing managers to access an employee's details quickly and effortlessly.

Unlike spreadsheets, IceHrm has a central database that allows instant access from anywhere, on any device. It is easy to use and ensures transparency for all stakeholders with a simple and user-friendly interface. Every aspect of your remote teams is optimized for your needs by creating multiple locations, departments and different leave types.

3.Simplify the exemption application process

Employees often feel uncomfortable when it comes time to request vacation. It can be even more difficult for employees who work in the field and do not have personal contact with their superiors. They are worried about whether their vacation plans will be realized and fear that they will appear disengaged or even replaceable. The distance may increase their concerns about possible conflicts with other events or the company's agenda. All of these concerns can cause them to delay or not apply for their well-deserved vacation. In addition, some of them may have to submit a formal application. In some companies an email is sufficient, in others a form or a visit to the HR department is required. In larger companies, this process may involve multiple levels of approval.

IceHrm helps you simplify the vacation request process with just a few clicks. The employee only needs to select the type of vacation, mark the desired dates in the calendar, and the application is immediately sent to the approver. Not only does this make the entire process pleasant and easy, but it also actively encourages employees to take time off to improve their work-life balance.

Establish a PTO policy

4. Establish a clear PTO policy from the start

The cornerstone of effective time off management for remote teams is establishing a consistent and straightforward PTO policy. By introducing the policy from the start, you ensure that all employees, regardless of physical distance, are familiar with the essential rules and procedures. Establish clear guidelines for vacation allotments for both PTO and sick days, determine whether unused days can be carried over, and outline the vacation request process. A dedicated PTO tracking tool can help with this as you can adjust the settings according to the policy.

It is critical to establish protocols for requesting time off and coverage because employees are not physically present in the workplace, making it easy to overlook an employee's availability.

5.Ensure compliance with applicable vacation laws

When it comes to creating good PTO policies, the first step is to review applicable leave laws. This is especially important for remote teams; Employers must comply with the various labor laws applicable to the regions in which their remote employees are located. In India, for example, legal regulations vary not only by state, but also by type of industry. In the United States, employers must understand both federal and state laws before creating a company policy. Additionally, some cities and counties have enacted their own employee leave laws (mostly related to sick leave). It's also worth noting that some leave laws depend on the location of the company's headquarters, while others depend on the location of the external team or individual employee. Because of this complexity, large companies in particular must consult legal experts to ensure their PTO policies are fully adhered to.

This step is also important for employee morale because it shows them that they are being treated fairly and that the company is not making unreasonable demands. Additionally, offering benefits that go beyond the legally required minimum can significantly increase employee loyalty and retention.

6.Make sure everyone understands the PTO policy

After developing a PTO policy, the next step is to ensure that employees are familiar with all the details it covers. They need to know how often they can request vacation, the maximum number of consecutive days allowed, how to handle unused PTO (e.g. transfer and payout upon separation), what lockout periods there are, etc. Most importantly, employees should know this Be clear about the minimum time they need to submit their PTO application. Make sure policies are easy to read and accessible to everyone on the team, usually through an employee handbook. A PTO tracking tool makes it easier to check these policies. Setting a PTO policy is not enough. It is important to communicate all provisions, especially the process for requesting time off.

And most importantly, apply the policy consistently to maintain trust and transparency in your remote work culture. Adhere to established procedures and deadlines and reassure your employees that their rights will be respected regardless of distance.

7.Regularly updating leave policies

Review PTO policies regularly and keep them updated to ensure they remain effective and relevant. As employment laws evolve and business needs change, PTO policies may need to be revised. Remote teams are spread across different regions, each with their own regulations. Therefore, companies that operate in multiple locations should keep a close eye on the federal, state and local labor laws they must comply with. For example, vacation laws in the United States are particularly susceptible to change. Over the last decade, more and more states have introduced regulations on sick pay and leave for family and medical reasons. A good rule of thumb is to check applicable legal requirements from time to time and update vacation policies accordingly.

Ensure that any changes to your vacation policies are not only made in a timely manner, but also effectively communicated to all team members. Payroll and HR departments are the first to address policy adjustments.

Taking PTO tracking to the next level

8. Integrate PTO Tracker with your communications platform

When managing your remote teams, the first thing you need to keep in mind is seamless communication. And the best way to support and optimize this communication is to integrate all other tools into your communication platform. When the PTO tracker comes into play, it is important to ensure that it fits platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams like a glove. This not only simplifies the leave request and approval process, but also promotes real-time updates and transparency among team members. By simplifying these tools, teams can communicate faster and ensure everyone is on the same page when requesting time off.

IceHrm effortlessly integrates with popular collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace, making the often tedious task of PTO tracking a straightforward process. With just a few clicks in their everyday communication tool, employees can request vacation and managers can approve or reject it instantly.

9.Prevent burnout among remote workers

If you have a remote team, tracking vacation days requires more attention because managers can't see their employees as closely as in a traditional office. With the help of IceHrm , managers can access the dashboard with just a few clicks and have a clear overview of past and planned vacations. To maximize the benefits of your PTO tracker, you should monitor whether and to what extent employees are actually using their vacation time.

Remote workers sometimes feel excluded or fall into a rut, forgetting the opportunity to free themselves by using their days off. When managers notice such signs of burnout, it is important to remind them and encourage them to take necessary breaks. Therefore, check your account balance regularly and remind those who neglect it of the importance of a good work-life balance. This proactive approach shows them that you care about their health, safety and well-being. An inclusive remote work culture must create a long-term sense of belonging, even if employees are spread across the globe and rarely if ever meet their colleagues.

10.Consider holidays in different locations

Each country has its own vacation laws, local holidays and specific vacation policies. In the United States, labor laws vary by state. Although private employers in the United States are not required by federal or state law (with some exceptions) to provide vacation to their employees, most companies offer at least some federally recognized holidays. Public holidays in Canada vary by province, but there are five nationwide public holidays. In the UK, employees are not entitled to paid holiday on public holidays; however, most employers offer the usual eight public holidays. In India, holiday entitlements vary by state and industry, but most states have around 20 to 28 public holidays (with 3 national holidays).

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The easiest and most common option for employers is to use a set of public holidays from the country where the remote team is located. This way the company stays in compliance with local regulations and allows employees to enjoy the holidays that mean the most to them. Another option is to use floating holidays, which allow employees to choose alternative holidays as substitutes while adhering to the corporate headquarters vacation schedule. Local and especially religious traditions are sometimes overlooked, but they have a significant impact on employee satisfaction. Recognizing these traditions honors diversity and shows respect for all external employees and their customs.

Navigating the complexities of remote work demands innovative solutions. IceHrm emerges as a vital ally, streamlining PTO tracking for remote teams and fostering effective communication, compliance, and a healthy work-life balance. As the workforce landscape evolves, IceHrm stands as a key facilitator in optimizing the remote work experience.

Why Every Remote Team Needs a Time Off Tracker

Embracing remote work comes with its challenges, and a key solution is the implementation of a robust time-off tracker. IceHrm, among other tools, empowers organizations to navigate the dynamics of modern work, promoting accountability, balance, and transparency for a thriving remote workforce....

Ultimate Guide to Unlimited Paid Time Off

Unlimited PTO, while transformative, demands thoughtful implementation. IceHrm serves as a beacon, offering invaluable insights and tools to seamlessly integrate unlimited PTO policies, ensuring a progressive and fulfilling work environment....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.