Broaching the Tricky Subject of Time Off with Your BossWhen time off is necessary, you need to be able to ask for it. Here is some advice for approaching your boss to ask for time off.
It is inevitable that during your working career you’re going to need to take some time off. Whether for your vacation, illness, family responsibilities, or a bereavement, time off is a reality in any job.
How to Ask Your Manager for Time Off
Many people find it difficult to approach their boss to ask for time off. They may have had a bad experience with a previous manager. Or they may have been told how difficult their new boss is when it comes to time off. However, when time off is necessary, you need to be able to ask for it.
Here is some advice for approaching your boss to ask for time off.
1. Timing is everything
It is critical that you ask your boss for time off at a strategic time. During the middle of the day when stress levels are high, and your boss is irritable because he/she is hungry is not a good idea. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster.
If it’s time off that can be pre-planned, take the organization into consideration. If you’re in the middle of a big project, ask for time off after its completion.
2. Communication is key
How you go about asking for time off is also important. Remember to ask, not tell, your boss about time off. Managers are more receptive when they are approached with some deference to their seniority.
If you have an emergency, communicate with your boss immediately. Establish when you start working what your manager prefers for communication out of office hours. It may be a phone call or a text. Adhere to their preferences.
3. Plan it thoroughly
When you go to your boss to ask for time off, be prepared to answer questions. You may be asked how your work will be done in your absence. Show your manager that you have a plan for this. Indicate if you have colleagues who’ll be assisting or if you are making other arrangements. This is likely to make your boss give your request due consideration.
4. Be open to negotiation
When you ask for time off, your manager might not be able to grant you exactly what you want. You may find yourself having to reach a compromise. Try to think about it from your manager’s point of view.
Your approach and willingness to give a little can get you a lot in the long run. Of course, you cannot be too flexible. Otherwise, you won’t get any time off at all. If your boss feels you’re trying to see it his/her way, he/she will do the same for you.
5. Know company policy
You should know how much vacation time, sick leave, etc. you have. If you’re not sure, contact your HR department before you even go to see your boss. At larger organizations, you’ll receive a company handbook which details all the protocols around time off. In a smaller organization, you’ll find out the dos and don’ts from your colleagues in terms of the organizational culture around time off.