8 Ways to Ask Your Boss for Time Off

Everyone who has done a good job at work deserves to enjoy the sun, beach, mountains… well, basically a quality vacation once in a while. Besides, a good vacation time can improve productivity and give you a fresh dose of motivation towards your work.

People usually resort to calling in sick just to take a time off and find a reprieve from the daily stirrings of work. However, the mere thought of requesting for a time off sends a shiver down the spine of many employees. Well, why don’t we take care of that and give you some tips to get that sweet vacation you deserve?

Let’s get right to it!

1. Have a more productive week than usual then use it as leverage

Bosses tend to ignore the little things, but they do take notice of bigger ones and will most likely be intimidated by them. I’m talking about your achievements.

In small doses, your daily achievements may seem like they’re not worthy enough, but if you keep a list of them for an entire week, you’ll have enough ammunition to impress your boss and "call the shots" when it comes to asking for a time off.

use productive week as usual as leverage

By flaunting your achievements you are basically showing your worth to the company, and your boss would very much like that. It’s basic office economy, that if your boss wants you to lean towards liking him, he’ll give you what you want without much question.

2. Tell your boss you need to recharge and refocus

If you are doing something for the sake of the company, even if it’s taking some time off on the pretext that it’s for the company’s sake, your chances of getting what you want is higher. Provided, of course, you have a good track record.

recharge and refocus

Being a good employee, the worst thing that could happen to you (and this is something that every boss wants to avoid the most) is for you to get burned out because of working too much.

Therefore, if you ask for some time off on the grounds that you need to recharge in order to avoid getting burned out… well, you might just find yourself in Hawaii all of a sudden.

3. Plan your time off before or after a hectic week at work

If you are looking for a longer break, perhaps a vacation to another country, or to spend an entire week watching all Supernatural seasons, getting it approved will be much easier if you time it either before the planned storm begins or right after it.

However, this may only be effective in a workplace where the monthly activities are more or less set to stone. For quick-paced jobs, you can tell your boss in advance that after a specific project is completed, you are taking some time off. By doing this, you are still prioritizing work which is everything a boss could ask for, and you will most likely get your time off.

Something like,

"Hey boss, next week looks pretty jampacked, so I’m thinking if it’s okay to take some time off for now to prepare for next week?"


"Hey boss, after we finish everything this week, mind if I take a couple of days off next week?"

4. Telling may be a better option than asking

Following from the point above, instead of asking your boss for some time off, telling them that you are, in a matter of fact way, going on vacation next week will give you more chances. This may work because you are not giving your boss an option, plus there is no substitute of confidence.

But do remember, that most of the tips in this article will only work if you are dutiful in your job and considered as an asset to the company. In a situation where you’re a regular latecomer or known to be careless or incompetent towards your duties, then these tips won’t work.

5. Ask a co-worker to work as your substitute

Finish all of the important tasks that come under your duties and have someone carry over the rest of what you’re going to leave behind during your break. This way, work will still continue even if you aren’t around.

find substitution

In most companies bosses are focused on just getting the tasks done, so it won’t matter much to them if you are gone for a few days for as long as the progress of their work isn’t affected.

Saying something like,

"Hey boss, I don’t have any critical issues to deal with at work, and I’ve already asked Joe to take over some of my tasks if my vacation request gets approved…so, is it possible to take some time off next week?"

Just be sure to give your colleague a gift when you get back!

6. Time is a currency that you can use to barter

If you are really in need of a vacation time, say, perhaps your group of friends suddenly wants to visit the Bahamas and you just have to be there with them, you can strike down a deal with your boss using your hours.

time as currency

Now, this might sound like a bad deal, but you can actually offer to do overtime work for a number of set days or work during the weekends in exchange for some time on vacation. Or you can scan around your workplace and look for people who would be willing to swap days off or holidays with you.

Note: this works well if you have vacation leaves left to claim, but it also works if you have already used up everything, depending on your boss and his mood, of course!

7. Pull the "I can still be reached through email or phone" card

If your work revolves around your computer, you may easily pull this one off. And it works wonders because even if you are away, your boss won’t be worried in case something terrible happens at work, or if they suddenly need you for anything at all that only you can give the answer to.

reach via phone email

It’s actually that simple, no further tricks involved. You just have to pull through. Just make sure that you have a good internet connection (would be quite expensive if you’re going on a cruise) or cell reception and you’ll be fine.

8. Be magnanimous in defeat, gracious in victory

When you finally get your sweet time off approved, don’t simply relax or stop being awesome at work, you just have to carry on like you aren’t excited at all. No "Friday Sickness", no slacking off. That’s what it means to be gracious in victory, just act normal!

And of course, there’s the inevitable rejection of your time off – it may happen a couple of times in your life. When this happens, even if it hurts, even if you want to lash out or plot your revenge, don’t. Accept your fate.

Just act normal and do your job properly, and the next time you request for a time off casually mention about the previous rejection and use it as an ammunition to finally get your time off. Of course, you should only do this if your request is well-timed.

Some concluding thoughts

Everyone deserves a break after working hard for a long time. If you think you are being burned out because of overwork, request for a time off and explain your circumstances to your boss. Remember, being honest is still the best tip I can ever give you.

If you are asking for a time off because you just want to unwind, travel with friends and family, just say so. And of course, being on a good standing in your company can make everything as slick as a whistle.

Have fun vacationing!