We may have gotten into the groove working during the pandemic, but that doesn't mean the groove is working for you. How do we talk to our boss about our concerns and what we need? Here are a few ideas to consider.
Have a Plan
No matter the conversation, prepare for it. Create a story for your boss that they will understand and make it positive but descriptive of the situation. It may be helpful to frame your discussion by describing the current state, how it's impacting you or the company, and provide some ideas to improve the situation. Layout your conversation in advance, so it is organized and results-driven. Describe your situation factually, and how it's impacting your work; then, suggest a solution.
Know Your Audience
Know your boss well enough to know what speaks to them. Do they have parenting or eldercare responsibilities, or do they have few responsibilities in caring for others? Meet them where they are. If you have more than one person you can talk to, choose the person who will be receptive. Relating your situation to their situation may be helpful in their understanding.
Ask for What you Need
In the end, don't beat around the bush. Tell your boss about what you need. Don't expect them to arrive at a conclusion for you. Be clear and provide solutions. Suggesting a few courses of action reflect that you are flexible in a solution, but you need an answer. Be persistent in asking for what you need; don't allow the conversation to side-track. Remain focused and work toward a win-win for you and for the company. Consider the solution to be an iterative one, in which there's a trial period, followed by a check-in, then settling on a more permanent solution moving forward.
Understand Your Rights
As part of your planning, ensure you understand your rights and protections afforded to you by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. While you don't want to lead off your conversation by pointing out these protections, keep it in your hip pocket. For more information, check out the US Department of Labor's website.
Talking to your boss about what you need may sound daunting, but these ideas are sure to make it a little easier. You and your health are paramount during this time. Take care of yourself so you can offer your very best to others.
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