Last minute trip away? How to get approval from your boss to depart ASAP


There’s a lot to consider when you find yourself heading off on a trip that’s been organised at the last minute, and one of the main concerns for most people is how to broach the subject with their work to get time off approved quickly.


Take stock of the current situation at work


It helps if you’re familiar with what your company policy is on last minute travel – a quick email to HR can be useful if you’re not sure where these are kept. Some companies have strict rules around the process for requesting and taking leave, while others allow more flexibility. Understand what the rules are before you try to work out how to navigate them.


If you’ve been called away for a family emergency, most workplaces will be sympathetic and many have in place a compassionate leave policy that allows you to be where you need to be during difficult times.


It’s also important to think about what your absence will mean for the rest of your team. If you’re in the middle of a super busy period, it is unlikely to go over well if you request time off. It often pays to be prepared with a plan you can present to your boss outlining exactly what your work load would be during the time period you’d like to be away, and how this can be managed without adding unnecessary burden to the rest of the team.


Have the conversation as soon as possible


Unless you’ve been called away for an emergency, make sure you have adequate time to speak to your boss and give them time to make a decision. Schedule in a proper meeting – don’t just corner them in the kitchen while they’re making coffee – and explain:


  1. Your reason for requesting the leave
  2. Why you can only give such short notice
  3. How your workload will be managed in your absence

Be willing to compromise


If all your work is up-to-date, you’ve been performing well or working extra hard lately, and the office is reasonably quiet, you’ve got a fairly good chance of getting some hard earned time off. But you should always be ready to compromise as an added assurance.


Technology has made it incredibly easy to work remotely in most roles, so offer to check in on your emails once or twice a day (and be sure to state a time frame so people know when you’ll be available, such as “I will be online to answer any questions from 10-10:30am, and 3:30-4pm”), dial in to any important conference calls or meetings that fall due while you plan to be away, and provide an emergency contact number in case any thing goes really wrong.


Being conscientious when requesting time off at the last minute will get you far, as will having a solid plan for approaching the conversation. Best of luck, and enjoy your time away!