As individuals, we are often faced with all sorts of obstacles; whether it be the declining health of a loved one or the need to further one's education, these unprecedented circumstances demand our immediate attention regardless of our prior commitments.
Situations like these become even more intimidating when one needs to bring it up to their employer. The whole negotiation process can be a little daunting but every step obligatory. According to a study of Harvard Business, this process can be segregated into three steps: preparation, negotiation and implementation.
To start off, one must understand what extended leaves entail and its possibilities. Unlike those offered to all employees, extended leaves are those offered to an individual under special circumstances. It is an agreement of sorts where one is allowed to leave for a longer period all the while maintaining a harmonious relationship with the institution and employer. Typically, there are two types of extended leaves; the one which can be planned for in advance and the other in the case of unforeseeable family emergencies. Time being the most notable variable.
In the case you are able to plan your leave a considerable time ahead, the following steps can ease the planning and negotiating process exceptionally.
The first step is to recognise the need for a leave. It could be multiple reasons as long as it is valid and can be discussed with the company and its officials. This will also help to highlight which parts of the agreement are set in stone and which are rather flexible.
The following step is to do research. This is vital for any type of agreement and negotiation. One must have full knowledge of the request being made as well as the consequences and repercussions. It can also be a good indicator of whether the request is feasible or not. If a similar request has been granted in the past or possibly denied, the steps taken previously can help paint a clearer route.
Lastly, one must take into consideration their own responsibilities and obligations before taking a leave. Each employee has their own tasks and projects to follow through and one must fulfill all before making the request for an extended leave so that those tasks do not fall as a burden on their co-workers. Some tasks can be finished before exiting while some can wait till the granted period is over. These small yet essential details must be thoroughly investigated.
With the necessary tools of knowledge and a firm goal in mind, one can finally move on to the most unnerving step of this whole process; negotiation. If the relationship between the employee and their employer is amiable, the approach and request can be made easily. In the case the employee is not on the best of terms with the employer, the employee can seek for a settlement through a managerial official.
Mindset is key when faced with challenging requisitions. Walking in with a problem-solving approach can help a great deal with this. Display commitment for the company and explain the urgency of your leave without giving away too many details. Explain why it is of utmost importance to leave but once the matter in hand has been dealt with, the opportunity to return will also be greatly appreciated.
Planning ahead of time and giving the company time to adjust will also reflect positively on your commitment and organisational skills. Written records of the granted time, distribution of your work responsibilities and clearing any assumptions in advance with proper arrangements can lessen the impact of your absence and help avoid any conflict during the leave.
Now that the hard part is over, things will start falling into actions. The agreement with you made will start to take action but with this comes a few extra responsibilities. While being away, one must still continue to manage relationships with their employer and co-workers. This will show commitment to the institution through accessibility and therefore guarantee a smooth transition back to work.
But what happens in the case of an emergency when there is no time to plan ahead?
In these situations, it is best to waste no time and have a transparent conversation with your employer about your needs. The discussion should include the time needed off of work as well as details of your urgency. Due to the abruptness of the request, provide realistic solutions to minimize the disruption. Prepare to stay accessible, depending on your circumstances, but do not overcommit. Staying in touch and regular check-in can mitigate your return.
Although a bit tedious, the process seems achievable and easy to carry out. But what kind one do if the request for an extended leave is denied?
If the leave is not granted, it is important to think of an alternative. Something not as extreme, such as reduced hours or maybe even consider if quitting is a possibility in this particular case, Check for flexibility and think of a plan accordingly. Strategize based on priorities. If it can be postponed; wait it out, organise and plan better. If it is a matter of urgency, reaching out to HR is also an option you can look into for support.
Asking for what we need with ease is a skill that most of us are still working on. Although intimidating, taking time off for unpredictable circumstances are necessary. If planned out and strategized properly, it is easily obtainable.