Your 3-Step Strategy for taking leave this year

CAREER ADVICE   |   3 minutes  |   March 1, 2017


To achieve career advancement, you need to constantly look for ways to increase your productivity, focus and engagement in your workplace. All of this can be achieved just by taking a well-deserved break and hitting refresh on your paid time off.

But, in 2015, 55% of American workers left holiday time unused and forfeited a total of 222 million days of annual leave.1


Taking time off is not easy. The threat of your work building up whilst you’re away, or having a manager that does not place value on downtime, results in many employees not using their annual leave entirely effectively.

Learn how to avoid an inbox avalanche with these three steps and successfully take time off this year.

Step 1: Understand why it’s important to take your paid time off

You need to craft the right narrative around taking leave at your organisation.

A new survey by staffing firm The Creative Group, notes that about 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took more holiday.2

If you remove the guilt associated with leaving the team behind or quell the fear of missing out on crucial work periods, you’ll be able to get over the stress of not constantly contributing and enjoy your downtime properly.

Step 2. Learn how to ask for time off, and get it

Be prepared, it is the key to scheduling your time off in advance.

Before you plan your request for time off, look to ensure your current workload is well maintained and under control.

Making certain your vacation request aligns with company procedure is a good start when asking for time off,” says Susan Lucas-Conwell, CEO of Great Place to Work.

It’s important to consider the company and the expectations placed on your role prior to submitting your dates. When asking, note when your boss is the most receptive and what your project timeline looks like going forward.

Maintaining a professional understanding about taking time off will lead to increased levels of transparency, learn how leaders and employees can get this right.

Step 3: Leave your arrogance aside and delegate directly

No one knows how to do your job better than you do, but don’t be tempted to throw all of your tasks to the other side of your holiday, as you’ll run the risk of being immediately overloaded upon your return.

You need to trust your team and understand that common errors will occur when you are both in and out of the office.

“I looked at my time out of the office as a chance for my team members to solve problems that they would normally have relied on me for,” says John Hall, the CEO of Influence & Co.

Set yourself up for success by organising meetings with key project stakeholders to project your workflow efficiently and share important tasks and deadlines.

Trust between team members can grow through equipping teams to manage themselves – learn how your time-off can lead to higher levels of workplace productivity.

The result?

Implement these steps before you leave and you’ll be on track to return to the office with greater ease, ready for time on.

Why not use your time-off to learn a new skill?

Browse GetSmarter’s online short course portfolio to see which world-leading university you’ll study with first.