Tips for the Holiday Shy

“Now more than ever, it’s vital that we take the annual leave that we deserve. Switching off from work in such a work-based society can feel impossible in your evenings, so taking time off can be a huge respite for our brains and our mental health. While it can feel intimidating, requesting annual leave is a skill that we all have to learn. If you’re feeling anxious about approaching your boss about taking holiday, check out our tips on how to ask for a leave of absence or request annual leave.
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Know your company rules
If you feel uneasy about requesting time off, it’s good to be informed on what you are entitled to. Your employer must allow you to take a certain number of days off a year and exact numbers will change depending on your company. Knowing how much holiday you can take in a year can help you to plan your vacations well in advance, easing your and your employer’s mind. Knowing the policies on carrying holiday over into new work-years and on forced leave will also avoid confusion in the future. You should also read up on your rights – your employer must let you know well in advance if your holiday request has to be denied.

Ask well in advance
During the summer holidays in particular, people going on holiday can mean that staff numbers are thin on the ground. For tips on How to Survive Busy Summer Holiday Periods at Work, check out our blog. For the sake of your fellow employees, you should make sure that your request for annual leave is sent in with plenty of time to spare. This way, adjustments can be made and your work can be dealt with, handed to other people while you are away or prioritised before you’re due to have time off. If it’s short notice, this can cause panic and upset other employees or your employer, meaning that your request could be denied.

Help create a work plan
If you have many responsibilities, they will need to be distributed to other employees while you are on leave. As you are the expert on your own work, it would be beneficial for your co-workers to create a detailed plan with instructions on what each task entails for your colleagues to follow. This will ease the transition, giving you peace of mind while you’re on holiday. It might even set a precedent so that when your colleagues take their own leave, they do the same for you.

Informing those affected
It may not be your responsibility, but it can be a huge help if you are the one to inform your fellow employees if your time off will affect them or their workloads. If some of your tasks are due to be shifted to others, it will be of use to them to have an in-person or virtual chat and explain anything they aren’t familiar with. Even letting your clients know that you’ll be away, as well as giving them a contact within your company for your vacation period, can help to alleviate confusion and frustration during your relaxation time.
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Writing your request email
Putting in a written annual leave request to your employer or manager will ensure that there is formal proof of your request. You should remain professional in this correspondence, being to the point and clear about the dates you are requesting leave for. State your reasons for needing time off, without being overly detailed, while also discussing or asking about preparations before your leave. You should also mention that you are available for questions, allowing for any clarification that your boss might need.”