It is no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly altered human existence, albeit we have not yet completely grasped how profound those changes are. There are undoubtedly numerous benefits to the work-from-home system, especially for employees, but on the other side, there are always some who would misuse it. This is particularly clear when a remote worker has to communicate often to address pressing work-related difficulties. Read a similar short that is shared below who works as a team lead at a legal company. Do let us know what you feel about this.
My team at work does 4 days WFO and 1 day WFH. This is because we have sensitive physical (paper) files to work with as part of our work, so we still have to come into the office. One of my team members, Sarah, had appealed to do 2 days WFO and 3 days WFH instead, on the basis that she has 2 kids to look after. Although other team members also have kids and Sarah had no problem coming in 5 days a week before the pandemic, I relented to the request after she became upset / accused me of being inflexible /started crying in my office. (And also checking with the rest of my team to make sure they were ok with it.)
I’ve noticed of late that when Sarah is WFH, she has a tendency to go “offline” or “away” on Skype during office hours. She is usually “offline” or “away” for more than an hour each time. Yesterday, I finally asked her about it, and told her that other people (internal clients and external stakeholders) have come to me for work matters she’s handling because they could not locate her. One external stakeholder even told me that Sarah was on leave; when I clarified that Sarah was not on leave, the stakeholder was bewildered (“but she’s been offline the whole morning”).
Sarah was defensive, and sarcastically apologised for “not being there to reply to messages immediately”. She then added that as long as she got her work done, it didn’t matter when she was online or offline. I told her she didn’t have to be online for the entire 9 am to 6 pm duration, but minimally from 10 am to 5 pm (with a break for lunch), so that (a) people can reach her if they need to and (b) other team members don’t notice and start following her example, particularly since Sarah is senior to the others.
Sarah was unhappy and since then I’ve come to be aware that she has been saying things about me to the rest of the team, including how I am a “dinosaur” still working according to former working norms. So, Am I A Jerk?