How to communicate the leave on demand

Whether we are on employment or b2b contracts, there is a possibility of random situations in our lives besides work. We don’t influence them, so we must handle and deal with them. Sometimes, we may need to take a day off because of them. It is our responsibility to communicate the situation appropriately to our superiors. We want to behave professionally, avoid misunderstanding, and prevent creating another unpleasant situation.

Challenges and pitfalls with unexpected situations

I was once involved in a project as a Technical and Team Lead. We had planned deployment on Wednesday next week. I knew that a few tasks were not finished yet. On Thursday, we have a status meeting with the client. I confirmed our status, gave them information about threatened tasks, and mentioned that we would not go with them in an upcoming release. Furthermore, informed them that I would be back with a status on the next day – Friday.

In the late evening on Thursday, I received a phone call. My friend that he needed to go to the Emergency Room and needed my help. We spent over eight hours there, till Friday morning. I felt tired, and I wanted to go to sleep. I remembered about my work at the last moment, so I wrote a short email.

Hello!
Unfortunately, I need to take the day off today.
Sorry for that.

Yes. That’s all. After that email, I disappeared for three days because Monday and Tuesday were the days of my planned holiday. You can stop here for a moment and think what might go wrong. And think about how my manager and the client viewed this email.

It could mark my last day on the project, as they might consider me irresponsible and unworthy of trust.

The power of transparency

Foremost, my email should contain more information about the reason for my absence. Even if I don’t want to share details with everyone, I should share some details with my manager. Because, in the end, he is a contact point and will speak with the client to explain the situation. In situations like this, your manager is a person who should know the details, to take care of all related things.
Furthermore, sharing more details will help arouse empathy in the recipient. We do not want to wake mercy here, but we want to inform how the situation looks from our side. In such cases, it will be much easier to understand. Please remember about that!

For the second, we should know who should receive information about situations like that. Do we need to share information only with our manager, or also with a client? Ensure that the company has a dedicated procedure for cases like this. As workers, we should put effort into knowing, how to behave in situations like this.

We should also consider setting the out-of-office status in the mailing system and the communicator which we use. An autoresponder is a must-have in cases like this.

Sharing details, openness, and a suitable group of recipients should ensure adequate reception of our absence due to the random situation. Based on this, we will earn recognition as responsible people whom others can trust and who handle the unexpected properly.

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