Submitting your paid time off for a big vacation might be the most exciting part of your work day. Waiting for the request to get approved, however, can be the most nerve wracking. Even if you’ve secured verbal approval from your boss, these things are never official until they’re “in the system.” You might check the status of your request every day, but your boss has been busy in meetings all week and hasn’t approved it, yet. There are ways to avoid this conundrum and bypass the anxiety that comes with waiting for your vacation to approved, such as using an effective system, submitting time early, and being bold enough to send reminders.
The Right System
The first step in effective time-off management is choosing the right system for the job. Not all time tracking systems are created equally and some work better for time off requests than others. For example, some software sends an email directly to the supervisor assigned when an employee requests time off of work. This can help to cut out middle men and have people approve time off requests quickly. These systems also often have a back up approver in place, in case the direct supervisor is unable to approve the request right away.
Next, some programs are cloud-based so employers and employees alike can access their time information both at and away from work. This can be beneficial if employees have the option to work from home or if a company has remote employees that do not come into the office. Giving people the option to record their time and request days off on their own gives a company more flexibility on the number and type of people it can employ. These systems also seamlessly integrate with payroll departments for accurate coding and payments.
Request PTO Early
The earlier you can get in your request for paid time off, the better. This gives your boss more time to look into possible conflicts and make sure there are people to cover your work while you are gone. Some companies have specific guidelines about how early or late an employee can request time off. This is sometimes managed by their time tracking system by way of only allowing people to select dates in a specific range. The typical range for optimal notice ranges from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on the length of the time a person will be gone and the reason for taking time off.
If a person requests time off early, it can also make it more likely that they will be approved. This is because there is less chance that other people have already requested to the same days off and if they do, you will be given priority as the initial requester. when requesting time in advance, however, a person should always be aware of any blackout periods their company might have regarding holidays or busy times when all personnel is needed to complete tasks and satisfy customers.
Most bosses are pretty good at responding to time off requests in a timely manner. They typically know that taking too long to approve or deny someone’s request can result in them getting frustrated and angry and possibly affecting their work. That being said, however, some bosses have so much on their plate they might forget to go back and hit “approve” on your request. In this situation, don’t be afraid to send a follow up email reminding them of the days you plan take off and that you submitted a request in the system. Don’t be incessant with reminders, but if a few weeks have gone by and you haven’t received a response, a reminder might be necessary.
There is a wide variety of options for systems to manage time off requests in a business. An employer should always consider their needs and options before picking the system for their business. Employees should remember to request their time off far in advance and not be afraid to send reminders if they do not receive a prompt response.