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How to Successfully Ask for Time Off (The Ultimate Email Script)
The holiday season is approaching quickly.
For many professionals it is often the case when your send your manager an email requesting to take a few days off for holiday, the following response can seem familiar.
“Sorry, its quarter end. We need you here.”
Even though many of us are entitled to our holiday allowance, we can get pushback from management, especially when there’s a lot going on in the office. In a survey last year LinkedIn found that the majority of people (51%) did not use all of their allotted holiday days last year. The number one reason was that they felt they had too much work to do (36%). Furthermore, 16% of millennials didn’t request time off because they were nervous to ask, compared to only 7% of Gen X and 6% of Baby Boomers. However, there is a simple formula you can use to request your annual leave without any pushback.
Script: A simple annual leave request email
Email Subject: Annual Leave Request (June 2nd through June 6th)
I’d like to request annual leave from Monday, June 2nd, through Friday, June 6th because I’ll be taking a family holiday over those days.
While I’m gone, I’ll be reachable by email but not phone. I’ll be making sure that we have coverage on my accounts while I’m gone, and I’ll also be distributing a handover document to my team so it’s clear who owns which accounts.
Is this OK?
So, what makes this method so effective?
To answer that, you need to walk a mile in your managers shoes.
What are the main reasons he/she might decline your request to take leave?
- They’re worried the project you’re working on won’t get done in your absence
- They don’t want your workload to wind up on their desk
- They don’t have the time to run around redistributing your tasks to other team members
Let’s examine how this email overcomes these objections and gets them to say “Yes” to your holiday request.
- It opens with a warm tone. Saying “I would like” is a much softer approach than stating “I request” or “I’m taking this time off.”
- The word “because” is critical here as it increases compliance. Saying “because” and giving your manager a reason for the time off (no matter what the reason is) makes it more likely he or she will approve.
- Is your manager worried your work wouldn’t get done? In that last section you ease that concern by showing him/her you’ve already thought about that. You’ve even gone the extra mile to ensure any projects you’re working on still get finished on time.
Finally, be sure to send holiday request emails weeks — even months — in advance. It’s far easier for your boss to say “Yes” when they have plenty of time to plan around your absence.
To recap, here’s how to effectively ask for time off:
- Send a holiday request with plenty of notice.
- Be warm and friendly.
- Be sure to use the word “because” when explaining your reasons.
- Ease any management concerns about finishing your projects on time.
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