Struggling at work? How to have difficult conversations with the boss

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And they should.

Here are four problems employees may be facing now and tips on how to discuss each with their boss:

Yes, there are advantages to working remotely. But it can also be difficult.

If you're having trouble working from home, the first step is to find out exactly what the problem is. For example: is it too much work? Do you need more comments from your boss? Are you having difficulty connecting with your colleagues?

"Identify what it is and talk to the boss," said Steve Arneson, author of "What Your Boss Really Wants From You." "Don't just say, 'I'm fighting'."

Once you have identified the problem, now is the time to ask for what you need to help solve the problem. Here is a good phrase to use with your boss: "For me to be the most productive, I need …"

"The boss's ears perk up when they hear this phrase," said Amy Cooper Hakim, an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert. "We want a productive and committed workforce."

So if the problem is that you feel too thin with too much work, try saying: To be more productive, it would be helpful to have clear priorities on where I should focus my attention first.

You're probably not alone with your difficulties, so try crowdsourcing solutions by opening the conversation with your colleagues, suggested Dana Brownlee, author of "The Unwritten Rules of Management."

Try asking others at the next meeting what practices have helped them and you can also offer to share what you have learned in the past few months. This not only helps solve the problem, but also shows some leadership and can help raise team morale.

You are concerned that working remotely may stop your career

"It is unfortunate, but true: when we are not in front of someone, we easily forget," said Cooper Hakim.

You will have to be more proactive when communicating, especially If there is a hybrid situation in which some colleagues have returned to the office, but you are still at home. But you cannot be too aggressive.

Find out what works best for you and your boss when it comes to status updates and registrations.

For some, a quick daily email or Slack with an update of the plans for the day will be preferred. Other bosses may want a more formal weekly chat.

"It is very important that we request a daily or weekly touch base to demonstrate that we are in our game," he said.

You feel overwhelmed

For many working parents, fall will be a great test of how work and home care will continue.

Meeting the demands of full-time work, child care, and education will be unsustainable for many. When approaching your boss about what work might be like without reliable childcare options, focus on offering solutions but also be transparent.

"We tend to focus on what we need, but first think about what it can offer," Brownlee said. Have a ready-to-share schedule that works best for juggling everything.

Set expectations by giving clear deadlines of when you will and will not be available and try to stick to them as much as you can so everyone is aware and can plan accordingly.

It may also be worth consulting with human resources to see if there is any option for working parents, Cooper Hakim advised.

Some companies offer different solutions, such as job sharing, which involves dividing a full-time position, moving to part-time work, or offering more vacations.

You're nervous about going back to the office

It is normal to be concerned about going back to the workplace. Even if you're excited to see your coworkers again, the thought of traveling or spending the day indoors with others where you could hire Covid-19 can be stressful.

Everyone is trying to figure out how to make the workplace as safe as possible, so don't be afraid to voice your concerns and try to be specific. Just be aware of how you get out.

"Make sure you don't present yourself in a whining way. Nobody likes a whistleblower, but they respect those who provide constructive suggestions," said Cooper Hakim.

Please note that some concerns, particularly when it comes to a pre-existing disability, may require reasonable accommodations by an employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And be sure to offer potential solutions that make you feel better. Perhaps an office with a door would make you feel better or sitting in a more remote area of ​​the office.

"This is a time when you have some 'power'," said Arneson. "The old rules don't always apply, you're licensed to ask more questions and go back a bit."

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