Office Etiquette: Is there a 'right' way to ask for time off?
Work + Life Balance

Office Etiquette: Is there a "right" way to ask for time off?

THE HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US, WHICH MEANS PLANNING TIME OFF. WHEN EVERYONE'S ANGLING FOR THE SAME VACATION DAYS, HOW DO Y0U ENSURE YOU'LL GET HEARD? 

For the majority of working professionals, the ideal holiday season is filled with family time, relaxing, and anything but work. However, this shared understanding presents a particular conundrum for the company as a whole. When the entire office is asking for the same few days off, who gets it?

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing to prepare your request. In order to preserve your flexible schedule and avoid getting the short end of the stick this holiday season, it’s imperative to know what to ask and when to ask it.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when you’re dropping the important questions on your boss.

1. GIVE AMPLE NOTICE

When it comes to asking for a few days off during the holidays, the earlier the better. The more time your boss has to take the necessary steps to cover your off days, the more likely they are to honor your request. To be extra thorough in your request, it’s best to have the dates you want to request off ready when you ask.

One great way to raise the stakes when you’re asking for time off is to pick up an extra shift or take on extra work to make up for the time you’ll miss. 

2. OFFER A COMPROMISE

One great way to raise the stakes when you’re asking for time off is to pick up an extra shift or take on extra work to make up for the time you’ll miss. To land your optimal days off, make the prospect of those additional contributions too good to pass up. This will show that rather than avoiding work, you are actively pursuing a more productive way to complete it.

3. PLAN FOR THE WORST

It is important to humbly acknowledge you are asking a favor from the company. Be prepared for your boss to say no. Remembering that this isn’t the end of the world will be important to not burn any bridges. Your boss will be more willing to grant your request next time if you graciously accept the refusal.

4. FIND THE RIGHT PERSON TO ASK

Knowing your company’s policy on asking for time off is imperative so you know who to ask. This ensures that you won’t be jumping through hoops to get a simple yes or no. You can also plan your ask around their schedule for optimal results.

Good luck!

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In our Office Etiquette series, we're answering common questions about workplace behavior. Do you have one you'd like answered in a future column? Add it to our comments section below.