Organisational skills when you are on leave – why is it important?

Organisational skills – it’s something we were all told to prioritise by our parents and our schools. But is it something we are really good at? Speaking for myself, I know I could improve my organisational skills at the best of times! However, what about organisational skills during a period of leave? For the purposes of this article, “leave” is defined as a period of time consensually booked off between an employer and an employee – this could be annual holiday leave, sickness leave, or maternity leave amongst others. This article will provide a reminder on what exactly organisational skills are and discuss the benefits of exercising those skills whilst in a period of leave.


What organisational skills actually are

Organisational skills are the talents which an individual utilises to create a greater likelihood of success in a future task or workplace assignment. These organisational skills will vary from industry to industry, and, even in the same industry, from job to job. This section of the article will briefly outline a number of organisational skills you may wish to review or utilise in your job – particularly when thinking about returning to work after a period of leave.


  • Talk to your colleagues and your employer. What has happened whilst you’ve been on leave? Do not go it alone when you return to work, communication is often key to success. A simple text or email before you officially return to work can do a lot!

Don’t neglect details:

  • When you are returning to work, it is all too tempting to cut corners with any pre-return-to-work tasks. However, I am sure you will agree, it is better to over-plan than under-plan. Don’t neglect details, it will only frustrate you.


  • Lists are great. For some people anyway. They’re not for all of us. But a list can be a helpful way for you to write down all the annoying, niggling tasks that should be completed before you return to work. At least you can strike off tasks you complete and add or remove tasks at will. They can even increase productivity!


  • Prioritising is a good organisational habit to cultivate. In terms of organisational skills, this is one of the most effective and one of the most difficult to put into action! The way you prioritise will be down to you, if you choose to prioritise longer tasks or shorter tasks, or simpler tasks or harder tasks – we all have our preferences! But as an organisational skill to use coming to the end of a period of leave, it is one to remember.


Remember: organisational skills are not just useful at work; they look good on a CV and should be mentioned in interviews!


Why organisational skills are important – even on leave

As we have seen, organisational skills are rather fundamental to a smooth employment! In times of work, it obviously makes sense to ensure that your organisational skills are up to scratch. However, what about periods of leave? I have worked for a number of years in the education sector, and I have come to understand the importance of organisational skills whilst in a holiday period! Too often I have seen educators return to work with messy classrooms and disorganised desks. This causes stress and frustration. Maybe it would be better to do these chores in advance of a return to work. This example seen within education is directly transferable to most other forms of employment. It is always better to get things done earlier to aid a smooth transition back into work after a period of leave – avoiding procrastination is often the key to success!

Now, this may sound all well and good. But, what about leave that is not necessarily “positive” leave? By “positive” leave I am referring mainly to annual leave, a form of leave typically associated with relaxation. This may serve as an incentive to get some work done earlier. It is only fair, though, to consider how compassionate leave, maternity leave, and sickness leave (amongst others) may affect organisational skills after a period of leave. Firstly, to you employers reading this, organisational skills should be encouraged at the best of times. However, you must be aware of what your employees are going through, and the type of leave they have requested. Consider: have you created a bespoke return-to-work plan for any staff affected by a bereavement, long-term sickness, or maternity leave? Maternity leave is often assumed to be a joyous time, but it is important to remember that some new mothers may struggle with postnatal depression – a serious topic. Make sure you support your staff with tailor-made return-to-work plans!

So, simply, employees deserve support from their employers. However, it is also clear that, to an extent, an employee is responsible for making sure they use their organisational skills whilst on leave effectively. Organisational skills whilst on leave may be difficult depending on the type of leave an employee has requested. However, I encourage all employees to practise organisational skills in both good and bad times. By avoiding organisational activities, you directly put yourself at risk of an inadvertent amount of stress, frustration, criticism from your colleagues or employer, and, thus, in a state of poor mental wellbeing.


Benefits of applying organisational skills on leave

It is good for your productivity, it is likely good for your mental wellbeing, it will make your job easier. There really are no negatives to ensuring your organisational skills during a period of leave are up to scratch. Being prepared is the name of the game!


In summary

Applying organisational skills during periods of leave is evidently a good idea. Sometimes, though, it is something that needs to be actively encouraged by an employer – particularly during certain types of leave.

This is a good time to mention that LeaveMonitor does offer a free trial of our online leave management system. Not only will this be a useful tool in your business as an organisational device, but also enable you to take better care of your staff! Take a look at our free trial.

Remember, being organised is key!