Work and The World

Four More Tricky Workplace Dilemmas!

Here are four more tricky workplace dilemmas for you to sink your teeth into.

Have you ever been on the Horns of a Dilemma?  They are particularly tricky when they happen at work.  We have another four juicy one’s for you to think about.  Do you have any that you would like to see in the next instalment of Tricky Workplace Dilemmas?

Is it OK to have a Relationship at Work?

So this is certainly a tricky one.  According to sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, about 10% of people meet their spouse at work.  This figure has declined from a peak of 20% in the 1990’s, thanks to the interweb. If you want to take a closer look at the study, have a look here or you can read this Washington Post article here.   The website BUSTLE found that 15% of us are meeting our partners at work.

Whatever the figure, the fact of the matter is that there is still a chunk of us meeting our mates at work.  Why is it tricky?  Well, in addition to the uncertainties of dating and kicking off a relationship, the workplace has other rules that can trap players looking for love.   You need to be careful.  It goes without saying that if you are in a more senior role than the person you are coveting, then you need to be very, very, very, careful.  If there is any hint that you have used your position to take advantage that could see you moved to another department, out of a job or worse.  Know your workplace policies, don’t be caught out by them.  See HR if you have any doubts for some advice.

If you are simply dating a colleague, I would suggest keeping it on the down-low.  If you are in a serious relationship with someone at work, avoid lots of personal emails, public marital spats or PDAs.

Be aware that if your feelings are not reciprocated, then you can wander into harassment territory if you continue with unwanted attention.  This is the case even if you were once dating and the relationship has run its course.

Is it OK to ask for a day off if my pet dies?

From a HR perspective you are not entitled to any bereavement leave for pets.  Some funky and modern thinking organisations may have special policies that allow some time off for the death of a pet.  But in the strictest sense, there is no leave that covers it.

The fact of the matter is, many of us are truly bereaved when a pet dies and work just may not be an option.  So here are some suggestions:

Supportive boss/workplace:  If you have the option, work from home.  Maybe you can work on a report while you sob into your hanky, or answer emails?

Ask for a day’s annual leave.  Or, if you need more, then ask for a couple of days leave, but understand that some workplaces might see that as excessive.  It will help if you work out how you are going to manage any work missed during that time.

Unsupportive boss/workplace:  If you have no other options then I would suggest taking a day’s sick leave.  Don’t mention the death of the pet.

Offer to take unpaid leave.  Not ideal, but if you are out of other options, it might be your last resort.  Again, might be better to simply blame it on a personal matter rather than specifically the death of a pet.

Finally, please understand that not everyone is going to understand the depth of your feelings for your pet’s death.  And that doesn’t mean it’s a bad workplace.  I am a massive animal lover and I once had a fellow ask for some time off when his wife’s chicken died, primarily to give her support. I struggled with that one (and suspected he was taking the mickey).  Just remember, there is no obligation on behalf of the organisation to provide leave for the death of a pet.

Is it OK to tell a colleague that they have BO?

Yes if you do it once, no if you do it twice.  It’s awkward, that’s for sure.  Why is it OK to do it once and not twice?  Well, once can be seen as a colleague looking out for another colleague.  Twice might start to feel like harassment or bullying.  If the fellow who sits in the cubicle next to you makes your eyes water, then I would suggest the best course of action is a quiet word with his manager or HR.

Really, let them deal with it, it saves much awkwardness.

Is Dobbing on a work mate OK?

This is a Big Horn tricky workplace dilemma, and one that needs to be well considered before acting upon.

You absolutely need to identify the difference between an issue that is a difficult workplace matter and something that is serious.  For example, a co-worker leaving early every afternoon is a difficult workplace matter.  A co-worker sharing commercial in-confidence information with a competitor, is something far more serious.  For me, when it sits in the serious realm, it’s a no brainer.  In fact, if in the course of the investigation it is uncovered that you knew and didn’t say anything, there could be significant repercussions for you. Dob if its serious. I don’t say this lightly. There can be issues for whistle-blowers as well.  However, in doing the right thing, you are doing the right thing.

For the matter of the work colleague cutting out a little early.  I would say focus on your own thing.  Karma has her way.  In situations where a co-worker is making mistakes, acting in a way that is detrimental to the team or damaging reputation, I think a quiet word in the ear of the boss might be needed.

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

I talk about four more tricky workplace dilemmas here, have a look.  Do you have any tricky workplace dilemmas?  Are there any you would like covered in our next series?  If you would like to read about more workplace issues, why don’t you have a look at “what questions to ask yourself before you leave a workplace”, here?


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