It’s no surprise that when the boss is away some of us have a relaxed and laidback attitude towards work. And why not? The boss always keeps you on your toes. Would it really hurt your career if you slowed down a little and took a step back while the boss is away for a few days?

Yes it would!

Instead of coming in late and spending the days your boss is away socializing with colleagues or attending to personal errands there are far more productive things you could be doing that would significantly benefit your career.

Do Some Housekeeping

We’ve all experienced how our boss’s work supersedes everything else we do. This can force you to neglect your own work. And on a continuous basis this can pile up a lot of work for us. So, the next time your boss is away, instead of taking the opportunity to get some personal work done, try doing some housekeeping at work. You’ll be surprised how much you can get off your plate during this time of uninterrupted and focused work.

Step It Up

When faced with a query, a challenge or a problem to solve, try not saying “I’ll ask my boss and get back to you.” This is your moment to be brave and bold. The moment where you step up and apply what you’ve learned. You may think waiting for your boss to return would be best so that you can avoid making mistakes and being reprimanded. However, it actually will harm your career more than do you any good. Think of it like this – what would our boss say or do? Go ahead and show them how you can up your game.

Find Things to Improve

If you’re in the middle of the action, i.e. involved with the operations of the team, you’ve got yourself a perfect opportunity when the boss is away. And that opportunity is to dig deep within the team and its daily operations. Strip it down to every task, step, process and procedure and see how you can improve things within your team. How can you make your function friendlier for stakeholders? How efficiencies can be brought about in your operations. Maybe even how to make your function eliminate redundant procedures. Do make sure to involve your team for input, feedback and a group discussion so that it’s a collective and holistic effort that covers many aspects of the function.

Provide Feedback

More often than not when our boss returns to work we present them with a list of issues and questions that require their input, guidance and feedback. Wouldn’t it win you a few feathers on your cap if you were to present your boss with a summary report of everything that happened while he or she was away? List down what the department achieved, what challenges and decisions were made. The discussions that were held and what actionable items are currently being worked upon. Believe me your boss would be thrilled to see feedback of this level.

I’ve always felt that when the boss is away it’s the perfect time to shine and show everyone what you’re really worth. To show that you have what it takes to be a leader. In fact, I always advise people that you should work so smartly and seamlessly that no one actually misses your boss.