Career Woman

You’ve got this: When you think someone is living in the office

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

Question:

I think one of my staff is living at the office. He’s always there in the morning, not matter how early I get in, and he’s still there very late, no matter how late I leave. Yes, he just might be a diligent hard worker, but on a couple of early mornings he’s looked a bit like he’s just woken up — and was startled too. I don’t want to be harsh, in case he’s going through a relationship problem, or maybe a financial problem (although he shouldn’t have money problems, given how much I pay him … unless he’s squandering it all). And no, he’s not hurting anybody if he is living there. But the office is the office, if you know what I mean. It’s not supposed to be somebody’s home. Help! Jacinta W.

Jacinta,

I remember years ago a dear friend of mine was extremely successful.  When he was going through a divorce, he moved into his office because of the challenges he faced.  I know he didn’t want this but it was his only option while he and his ex-wife dealt with their finances and living arrangements.  It was even more challenging because children were involved and he wanted to make sure they were provided for.  Hence, the office was his temporary home. From the outside, I thought he had it all together and in retrospect, he did have it together…he was just going through a difficult time. I realized from this, there was more going on than I was aware of which sounds very similar to this situation.

I would encourage you to have a conversation with your employee. I would express my concern about his time management instead of focusing on the possibility of living in the office.  Please express praise for his commitment without condemnation.

Ask him what is needed for better management of his schedule because you see him both in the mornings and in the evenings. Effectiveness on the job requires time away from work and self-care. You want to impress upon him your value of both. Although you can’t inquire about his personal activities, you can tie it to the impact it has on his performance/role. If he chooses to confide in you about his personal life, thank him for sharing and refer him to outside resources to address those issues. You could implement a policy to discourage making the office one’s temporary home but that won’t get to the root of the problem. He’ll just learn to hide it better from you and that doesn’t help him or you. If he’s a great contributor to the team, don’t allow this to cause a rift.  At the close of your conversation, reaffirm your concerns, set expectations and make sure to check in periodically.

You are a boss chick…You.Got.This.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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