At work, I delegate a lot to people I can but generally should not order around. When a so delegated task is not of immediate importance, I want to communicate this laconically, idiomatically, yet explicitly.
In German a corresponding idiom is "bei Gelegenheit":
"Implementieren Sie bei Gelegenheit bitte diese Schnittstelle."
"Please implement this interface <at a time that suits you>."
The idea is that I then shelve my own work on this task, until they report back - even if that ends up being months later.
I have trouble finding a corresponding expression in English. "Bei Gelegenheit" is translated:
- into "on occassion" - actually corresponds better to "gelegentlich": "every now and then"
- into "while you are at it" - https://dict.leo.org provides this, but I think it's just wrong. "Bei Gelegenheit" specifically means that the occassion has not yet arrived and will have to be found later. "While you are at it" presumes that an occassion is already found/planned/known.
- into "at this opportunity" - Wrong context: No opportunity has occured yet, there is no "this".
Can I just omit "this" to express the correct meaning?
- more examples - note that
- this list is tainted by "bei dieser Gelegenheit" which does correspond to "at this opportunity" and thence does not fit in exactly the same way.
- most translations simply omit the phrase or replace it with a reference to an event. I cannot do that, as without I'd communicate "As soon as possible - someone is blocked and waiting for it!" whereas if I had such a reference, I'd already prefer to use "while you are at it" or "at this opportunity", that being the more efficient plan where it's possible.
Using "opportunity" like it's done with "occassion": "at opportunity" (without definite article) seems straightforward but it does not feel idiomatic to me, aka. I do not recall seeing such usage "in the wild".
"On occassion" would already fit well enough as a literal(-ish) translation, but for idiomatic usage it is unfortunately tainted by the implied repeat:
- "visit on occation" - every odd weekend,
- "check on occation" - every few hours,
- "dress up on occation" - every odd similar event,
Does such an idiomatic expression exist? I think it must, as surely English workplaces are no exception in that human-to-human communication having implicit default cases is prone to cause misunderstandings and should be avoided.