Ask SheCanCode Anything: “Asking for time off work”

Asking for time off


This week, we’re talking about using your holiday allowance and asking for time off when you’ve started a new job.

To help us answer this questions is coach, Fiona Hatton.

Fiona Hatton Coach at YoCo Studio

As a coach, Fiona supports women to live a happier life: through prioritising their wellbeing, doing more of what they love, and focusing on what really matters to them. She has worked with women who’ve gone on to change career, leave a toxic workplace, and make big life decisions about where (and how) they want to live. 

Join the Yoco Studio community for free resources, useful tips and offers. And head to the Yoco Studio Facebook group for regular ideas and activities to boost your wellbeing.


Hi SheCanCode,

I’ve done some Googling to try and find an answer to my question, but I can’t so thought I would get in touch.

I’m quite junior in my career and I’ve just started a new job (about 2 months), which I love. However, I’d like to book some holiday and it’s stressing me out. I have 25 days’ allowance, but my worry is – is it too soon to be asking for holiday? Will it make me look unprofessional?

Do you have any tips?


Jetsetting Junior


Oh I hear you! Asking for time off work can feel daunting, especially when you’re new to a role. But remember, everyone needs a break from work. Most organisations are aware that taking time off can reduce burn out and actually make people more productive in the long run – in fact I know of workplaces actively reminding people that they should be taking all their leave. It is not a badge of honour to have weeks of holiday to carry over into the next year.

So feel confident that you’re not doing anything wrong by asking for time off, and perhaps consider these questions to help you prepare:

  • What is your organisation’s leave policy?

Some organisations have specific rules about when employees can take time off and how much notice they need to give. Understanding this ahead of asking for your leave could reassure you that you’re not asking for something unreasonable.

  • How can you plan ahead?

You may need to time your leave to avoid clashes with other people in the team. Planning ahead means you’re more likely to get the dates that work for you – and you’ll be giving plenty of notice so that your manager can more easily make arrangements for your work to be covered. Consider how flexible you’re prepared to be on the dates you take too – this is easier if you haven’t already booked flights, accommodation, etc. 

  • What would make it easier for your team when you’re on leave? And for you when you come back?

In a team, most people are prepared to pitch in when someone is on leave (partly because they know it will happen when they’re on leave too!) But what would make it easier for them? How can you make sure that they understand what’s needed, and how to keep things ticking over until you’re back?

And what would help you return to work without post-holiday blues? Would a day without meetings help? Or how about a catch-up with your manager so you know what to prioritise first? 

Please remember that taking time off is a normal part of work, we all need it to recharge and feel ready to take on new challenges. Enjoy your holiday!


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