Time off is one of those things that has gotten a bad reputation. Companies give you time off, but some will look down on you for using it. Many people freely admit that they avoid taking all of their time off for fear of being seen as lazy or dispensable.
I try not to feel guilty about using my time off. I feel that if the company gives employees time off, they are counting on you using it. If companies actually give employees hassle about using it, then it seems silly to even be working for that company in the first place.
There are some tips you can follow so that you can take your time off without feeling guilty about it.
- Know your company / department – Taking a week off shouldn't be a problem, but if you plan on taking more than that off at one time, you should make sure your company and department can handle that. Most tasks can be put off a week or so, but if you're handling important things that can't be shifted around, it will start making people nervous if they get put off for too long.
- Get ahead of the game before you leave – If you're heading out for a week, try to get some of the things you would normally do done before you leave.
- Transfer any responsibilities that have to be done – If there are things that need to get done that you have to transfer to someone else, make sure they understand completely what is being done.
- Send out a ‘reminder' e-mail to anybody doing your work – If you ask someone else to do something, they agree to do it, and it doesn't get done, guess who gets the blame? You. This can often be avoided by sending out an e-mail a couple of days before you leave. A simple “Just want to confirm that you will be doing such and such task next week while I'm gone. If you have any questions, please let me know before Friday afternoon. Thanks so much!” Copy your boss. Trust me, the work will get done.
- Make sure to update your calendar, voice-mail, and out of office reply. This should need no further explanation.
- Make sure to remind your boss that you'll be off– If you plan your time off for July back in March and your boss approves it, that gives him/her four months to forget all about it. Dropping by a few days before your time off saying ‘Hey, just a reminder that I'm off next week, do you need anything from me?' can often avoid a messy situation for your boss (that will then unavoidably transfer to you).
- Follow up when you get back – The morning you get back you should run through your voice mails and e-mails, responding to anything urgent, and you should also stop by your bosses office (as well as any colleagues who were handling your tasks). No matter how best you prepare, things will often blow up while you're gone, and the best thing you can do is put out any fires as quickly as you can.
Do these things and you shouldn't feel guilty about taking time off.
Any other tips you have to ensure relaxing time away? Have you had any time-off horror stories?