Even though we earn them, it can be a bit nerve-racking asking to cash in on paid time off (PTO) days. Whether you’re a new or tenured employee, this can get especially tough during peak request times (i.e., the summer, holidays, etc.). And while most articles advise managers how to go about delegating PTO days, very few guide the actual employees on how to go about asking and using their days properly. Until now. Here are four things to keep in mind when managing a time off request during the summer and holiday seasons:
Know the rules
Before you go ahead and ask your manager about taking a substantial amount of PTO days, familiarize yourself with the company’s time off request policies. A simple solution to this is by reviewing the employee handbook. This should help you learn more about the PTO policy, but if you are still unsure or do not know how many days you have left, going to your company’s HR Representative is the next best step. This allows you to have a detailed discussion about company policies and gives you the opportunity to ask any follow-up questions. It also displays a great degree of consideration and respect for the company, your job duties, and manager.
Be transparent about your intentions
Once you have a solid grasp of your company’s paid time off request policy, be transparent about your intentions to avoid any conflicts. First and foremost, talk with your manager. Whether you plan on taking an extended leave to enjoy the summer or decide to go all in on the holidays, make sure you’re extremely straightforward with your them. Also, the sooner you let them know, the better. This permits them to plan accordingly in your absence, especially if that means they have to find someone to cover for you in your absence.
It’s also a good idea to discuss your plans with your coworkers, specifically if you work directly with them or share similar tasks. Just let them know that you intend to be out for a certain amount of time and that you’re willing to do what it takes to ensure that the entire team’s productivity isn’t negatively affected. You should also be willing to reciprocate. Offer to pick up some extra tasks delegated to them so that they can do the same for you while you’re out. If you plan on going away for a couple of weeks in the winter, offer to hold down the fort for them during the summer months. Or vice versa. If you communicate effectively, it will help ensure that all the team’s work is being done efficiently and effectively all year round.
Guarantee an organized return
It goes without saying that all time-sensitive work should be done before taking vacation time. To remain focused, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete before you leave and ensure you are putting in the extra hours to accomplish them. It’s also a good idea to be proactive about the work that you know will be waiting for you when you get back. Whether you get a head start or simply make a to-do list for your return, this will take a huge burden off your back and allow you to get resituated into your daily work routine. Depending on your situation, you may also want to occasionally check your email while you are out. Even if you don’t respond, this might help you know what to expect when you are back in the office. However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to do this if you are off the grid or need to completely unplug. Read also: Out Of Office: The Ultimate Workplace Vacation Checklist