Taking a break without breaking teamwork

Dhruv Saxena

Imagine this.

From your tight-knit team where every member is critical, you want three teammates to handle a project in its final stages. But here’s the hiccup: they’re all on leave at the same time. And now you’re stuck — do you call them in any way and be the bad guy, or drop it and let the project suffer? The real answer is neither — if you’d moved on from opaque systems like spreadsheets and bumbling HR tools, you’d never have been in this soup in the first place.

Here’s what’s holding you back

You’ve weathered your fair share of ugly surprises, and multiple teammates taking time off at the same time was probably one of them.

More often than not, these situations are completely avoidable — that is, if the person planning a break already knew who else would be on leave during their chosen dates. But what’re the chances of that happening, right?

Here’s how we’re clearing the way 

We’ve felt that pain, so we built to solve it.

The Leave Conflicts feature helps high trust teams plan their work better by preemptively catching conflicts before they wreak havoc.

In the case of unavoidable overlaps, like multiple people on sick leave, the feature keeps team managers aware of ugly surprises around the corner.

And finally, it dishes responsibility onto everyone’s plates—not just the manager’s—because we’re all adults and can make our own decisions. 

Behind the scenes

We pride ourselves on making software obvious. That involves building thoughtfully and doing all the heavy lifting so that, for our users, using Pause is a breeze.

Here’s a glimpse at the principles that guided us and how we made the Leaves Conflict feature a no-brainer. 

See leave conflicts while applying for leaves with Pause, a leave management and team planning tool.
See leave conflicts while applying for leaves

Dispense just enough information at just the right time

We don’t bombard our users with information they don’t need. We surface leave conflicts only when and where they’re necessary. In this case, that’s when users choose their dates and we discover that someone from their team is also on a break during the same timeframe. We trim the excess, they plan better. 

Support good decisions through collaboration

By disclosing leave conflicts to both managers and team members, we equalise the burden of decision-making and enable conversations between colleagues that deepen empathy, if there is some already. We also make no room for playing the blame game because having leave information at their fingertips means there’s no reason for users to be unaware.  

Create information, not restriction

By ensuring that the least powerful actor — the employee — doesn’t get penalised by the system, we’ve built Pause for openness and equality. We haven’t given approvers the authority to block multiple people from taking time off together, and we never will.

If people know that their team might go under capacity and still take time off, it’s for one of two reasons. One, because they’re in an unavoidable bind (and hey, emergencies occur). Or two, they’re subtly reflecting a lack of care for the ‘team’ in ‘teamwork’.

But software can’t solve what’s broken by culture. To believe our small piece of tech can change inconsiderate behaviour is delusional, which we’d like to believe we aren’t.

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