Vacation request on your mind? With summer upon us, chances are someone in your department is on vacation this week. If you have your own dreams of getting away, your first hurdle is a vacation request. In other words, you need to ask your employer for the time off. This comes easier for some than others, especially when the demands of the job seem overwhelming. If you’re feeling guilty about getting away for a few days or weeks, don’t. You need time to recharge and renew your enthusiasm for your work – a vacation can help you avoid burnout. Your colleagues will thank you.
Make sure your vacation request goes smoothly. Follow our tips.
Vacation request tips
• Be first to ask. If the vacation you’re planning coincides with a major holiday, be sure to ask for the time off well in advance. In all likelihood, your co-workers have similar vacation schedules in mind, and your manager can’t grant everyone’s requests. Although business activity tends to slow down during the holidays, companies still like to have a few staff members on hand.
• Put it in writing. It’s a good idea to submit a written request so that you have a formal record. Your manager can refer to it when setting up a schedule. If, in the midst of a hectic morning, you casually mention that you need a week off next December, your manager is unlikely to mark it on her calendar.
• Wait for the right time. One of your co-workers is out on maternity leave and another has surgery scheduled for next week. A third will be traveling on business for the rest of the month. To top it off, a major project is due. Does this seem like the best moment to ask for four days off for a ski vacation? Your chances of getting the time off you want will improve if you’re sensitive to – and willing to work around – workload peaks and personnel shortages.
• Look at it like a manager. Rather than focusing on how much you need this vacation, consider your request from your manager’s point of view. She has to balance your desires against those of the rest of her staff, as well as the needs and expectations of senior management. In addition, she must factor in how to juggle your projects during your proposed vacation, and how critical your presence in the office is at that time.
• Be flexible. To minimize disappointment and maximize your chances of approval, have a backup plan. If your original timeframe falls during a major initiative, offer to adjust it to coincide with a slower time. Your willingness to modify your plans will be appreciated by management.
• Cover your absence. To make your request more persuasive, outline a plan for how your duties might be handled while you’re gone. The plan should include a summary of your active projects, their status and target completion dates. As much as possible, wrap up unfinished business before you leave. If you anticipate phone calls or email queries while you’re gone, decide to whom these should be referred. Create out-of-office messages for your voice mail and e-mail with instructions on how to reach that person. Then, give that individual the information she needs to handle questions or fulfill requests for information. This will save everyone headaches and show your manager that you’re conscientious.
Vacations are a fact of working life. Most managers are glad to grant reasonable requests. By providing your boss with advance notice and being sensitive to potential conflicts, you’ll have a better chance of getting the time off you desire.
Robert Half International has more than 350 staffing locations in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at www.rhi.com.