Advice » Salary & Benefits» Benefits Information » Out of the Office, Out of ...
Out of the Office, Out of a Job?

Out of the Office, Out of a Job?

In a stormy economic climate, workers sometimes worry that taking advantage of benefits that take them out of the office, such as telecommuting, flextime, parental leave or even vacation, will increase their odds of being laid off.   

While benefits that physically remove you from the office for long periods of time may hurt you, a week out of the office for a vacation probably won’t, experts say.

Could Vacation Put You on a Permanent Vacation?

The fear that you’ll be let go during your vacation may be common, but it’s not realistic, says Paul McDonald, Robert Half Management Resources executive director. “You never know and everything is uncertain when you’re in an economy like this, but generally, we find employers will do layoffs systematically and face-to-face,” he says. “It may be a surprise, but it usually isn’t done telephonically when you’re traveling the world.”

In tough times, taking an extended vacation may lead coworkers to question your commitment, says Jonathan Segal, an employment attorney at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia. “A three-week vacation might not resonate well,” he says. “Take two weeks rather than four, or take long weekends rather than being away for an entire week.”

He also argues against the conventional wisdom that you should completely unplug from the office while on an extended vacation. “You should expect to be doing some work on vacation,” he says. “Not that you’re available 24/7, but you can help manage or move matters.”

Score points by staying in the office when everyone else is out, like at the end of August. “Frame your vacation in a way that’s helpful to your boss, by saying ‘I’ll take off at a different time, so I’m here when you’re not here,’” Segal says.

If your supervisor doesn’t vacation this year, should you? “If your reviews have been average and above average, your company is stable and your supervisor tells you to go, you should go,” McDonald says. “However, if you are still concerned, talk with your boss before you leave to make sure there won’t be any surprises.” If your reviews are solid, but your company is unstable, you may want to spend your vacation time on a job search and save the money you would have spent on a trip in case your employer goes under.

Increase Face Time to Decrease Layoff Risk

Telecommuting, parental leave and flextime also reduce the amount of time you spend in the office. Can using those benefits increase your chances of being cut? Probably, says Los Angeles career coach David Couper. “You need to be around and be seen, and if you’re not, that’s a problem,” he says.

Determining whether to telecommute depends more on the company culture than the economy, says Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners, a Boston career-management consultancy. “If your company encourages it, it’s probably a nonissue, despite the recession,” she says. “If you are one of a few people that telecommute, now is probably a good time to head into the office and interact with your colleagues.”

If you are a telecommuter, communicate constantly. “Be available by instant message and stay locked in,” Couper says. “You don’t want people gossiping that they tried to call you and you weren’t there, or they emailed you and you didn’t respond for three hours. If they’re looking at cutting people, you’ll be seen as someone who doesn’t put the time in to help the company.”

Even a benefit as simple as flextime can work against you. If you start at 6 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m. and your boss works 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., he may see you leave at 4 p.m. and think you’re a slacker, even though you both work the same number of hours.

Be mindful of how you use other benefits, including travel to conferences and education reimbursement. “Even if those programs haven’t been frozen, people are frowning on them,” Couper says. He's heard stories of coworkers complaining when people leave the office to attend essential meetings. That's not surprising since so many people are working double-time to handle increased workloads brought on by layoffs.

FMLA Is No Shield

Using health-related time off may be legal, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to layoffs because you’re home with a new baby or a sick relative. The Family and Medical Leave Act spells out what employers must offer.

“If you’re let go because you took FMLA, that’s unlawful,” Segal says. “But the fact that you took FMLA doesn’t mean you’re immune to a layoff. If the layoff is based on overall commitment and two of four FMLA employees were found to have less overall commitment, then you might question it. But, if there are 20 people in a department and they let go the four most junior and two of them are FMLA, that’s going to be lawful.”

In a perfect world, great work should ensure employment, but it doesn’t always work that way, Varelas says. “It is more important than ever to build and maintain relationships within your company, and the best way to do that is through regular face-to-face interaction,” she says.

More Monster resources and advice:

Latest Jobs

Posted: 05/30/2015
Posted: 05/30/2015
Columbus, OH, 43201
Improveit! Home Remodeling
Posted: 05/30/2015
Dayton, OH, 45414
Swift Transportation
Posted: 05/30/2015
Western, IL
Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC
Posted: 05/30/2015
Ontario, CA

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-220