What to do when remote work takes a psychological toll - Albuquerque Journal

What to do when remote work takes a psychological toll

Dear J.T. & Dale: My company has been working remotely now for two years. It’s definitely taking a toll on me psychologically. I miss being in the office. I heard about a coworking space in my town and checked into the prices. It seems sort of reasonable, but I couldn’t swing it myself. Do you think I could go to my employer and see if they’d pay for it? – Nona

J.T.: I would definitely inquire. I would set a time with your boss and explain that you are missing the social interaction and came across a place that could help you feel more connected and creative. Then ask if they would be willing to pay for coworking space. The worst they can say is no. But, just by asking, it makes it clear to them that if they don’t give you someplace to go, then you may be looking for a new job. So if they care about keeping you, they could find a way to avoid losing you. Definitely inquire, just be really polite about it and emphasize how much it would mean to you to get this.

DALE: You’re probably not alone in how you’re feeling – meaning your employers will worry about setting a precedent. So you might offer to do some research for the whole team and report back with options. I did some investigation of coworking spaces a couple of years back. I found a few that were quite pricey, with luxury accommodations oriented toward impressing visitors, others that were cheap and would make you feel cheap working there, and a few that were reasonably priced while being lively and uplifting, ones with seminars and social events that would satisfy that collegial need. There’s a lot of energy in such places, enough to lift productivity, and your management might get enthused about the idea.


Dear J.T. & Dale: After 12 years with the same company, I recently left to take a position with a different company because they offered me a 40% pay increase. I absolutely hate the new employer. It’s nothing like my old employer. I want to go back to my old job, but I still want the pay increase. Any suggestions on how I can navigate this? – Rick

J.T.: I’ve been telling people all along that just because companies in the pandemic are offering you a huge pay increase doesn’t mean you should take it. Lots of companies provide what I refer to as “hazard pay” – it means they understand that their working environment isn’t the best, so they throw money at the problem. My advice is to first see if your old employer will even have you back. I would try to connect with old colleagues or even your old boss and ask if they would be willing to consider it. Then you’d have to ask them if there’s any way they’d be able to match the salary that you left for. My guess is that they can’t. But perhaps they will see the value of bringing you back and paying you a bit more. The goal is for you to make it clear to them that you will be singing their praises and will be able to tell all the other employees about your experience and why is it smart to stay put. In short, by giving you money and having you come back and share your story, it could be a great insurance policy for them in terms of retaining talent.

DALE: Worth a shot, but I’m picturing you calling and saying some version of this: “I blew it. I never should have left. Please have me back. Oh, and if you will let me come back, I’ll need a 40% boost in pay.” It’s just not a good negotiating position; unless, that is, you were a much-loved, essential employee. So, I’m guessing it won’t work. What might work is to start a job search. With that higher salary in your pocket, you’ll perhaps find a good employer who sees you as worth what you’re making.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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