Holiday Booking

Role: UX/UI Design

Link: View this project on Miro

From talking to employees from across the business, we came to an understanding that their most desired feature from the employee portal was to be able to view, book and manage holidays online. Amazingly, the vast majority of the business (over 10,000 employees) had to submit a paper form to their line manager when they wished to take annual leave. This process was not ideal and many employees told us that they had to chase their line manager multiple times for approval and had even missed holidays because their request had been lost.


The primary goals for this project were as follows:


We first stumbled across the issues with the existing holiday booking processes while conducting user testing on the new employee portal redesign pre-launch. While visiting multiple branches to talk to employees in a number of roles, we found that people were keen to air their grievances about the current holiday booking process, or the lack thereof.

In order to try and gauge the wider businesses appetite for the feature, we prepared a short survey which looked to identify, among other things, which features employees most wanted to see on the staff portal going forward.

The results were staggering. In just as few days the survey, which had been featured on the employee portal, had hundreds of replies. With over 80% of employees citing online holiday booking as their number one most desired feature for the platform.


Other areas of the business including the Digital Product Development and Marketing teams had been using a third part application Timetastic for viewing, booking and managing their holidays. This application was highly regarded across the departments in which it was being used; however due to the high cost-per-seat, was not a financially viable option to be rolled out across the remaining 10,000+ employees.

Fig 1.


We approached our solution with an MVP mindset. What was the most simple solution that would provide the most meaningful impact for employees and their managers?

We chose to use Timetastic as a benchmark. Given how well this product was working in the areas of the business where it was being used, we decided to take a similar approach albeit with a few features left out.

The proposed solution included the following features:

Fig 2.


The new online holiday booking feature launched on the employee portal in 2017 to widespread praise from across the business.

Employee feedback indicated a significant reduction in the time between making a request and having it approved by their line manager.

Managers told us that they now set aside a slot of time every week to deal with requests from their employees and that it had saved them substantial time of looking through and inputting holiday requests every quarter.

Future improvements

While the new process was very well received, there are a few areas which could be improved upon in future iterations.

Firstly, due to limitations in the employee database, the system can not accurately determine who is the correct line manager of employees. As a result, the employee has to manually select from a list of roughly 5 or 6 line managers from their business area to ensure that the request goes to the right person.

The cancelation mechanic is also not particularly efficient meaning that holidays booked in a block need to be canceled individually, a process that can be somewhat tedious for longer periods of leave.

Finally, one of the most frequently requested features post launch is the facility to allow employees and managers to view holidays from within their department. This visibility would make it easier for employees to know when other colleagues are off and avoid the potential disappointment of having their holiday request declined. As of the time of writing, this was still being carried out using physical boards in branches.