Help! The boss keeps calling me while I’m working from home
Q: I work in a medium-sized firm and like other organisations, we are mostly working from home. My boss, however, has a habit of occasionally asking us to work from the office. Although this is not convenient for me, I have been doing it. On two occasions, I realised that I was the only one in the office. This made me feel really uncomfortable and I could not wait for the day to end. I couldn’t help but feel targeted, and I wondered if it was deliberate. I don’t want to lose my job, but at the same time, I fear for my safety when alone in the entire building with him. What can I do?
What a burden to carry when there is so much going on. You need to trust your gut, and take some precautions.
If you feel as if he is just looking for an opportunity to be closer to you, you should be worried. The first place to start is to avoid any situations where you would be alone with him.
This obviously depends on the nature of your work, but at any given time, if you find yourself cornered in an uncomfortable situation, look for a way to leave the room, or ask a colleague to come in and work from close by to pre-empt any wicked schemes.
Raise your observations with your HR leader and ask for a company-wide guide on the tasks that can be done remotely, and those that can be done from the office.
This guide can protect staff who may find themselves in your position. Needless to say, the management should ensure compliance of the guidelines across all departments.
This is what ought to have happened in the first place. Your boss seems to be taking advantage of the gaps.
You could suggest a departmental schedule where your team is allocated remote or office duty based on the task to be completed.
Prior planning will provide clarity on which set of workers is required in the office at the same time as you, and you could excuse yourself with reason in case you feel uncomfortable working with certain individuals.
To enhance the safety of staff, the company may need to state the minimum number of persons allowed to work from the office at any given time, and ensure there is a supervisor on duty.
If your tormentor is assigned to supervise you, consider swapping places with a colleague. I believe the boss will take note of the precautions you have put in place and leave you alone.
If he does not, it will be important to share your suspicions in confidence with someone who is in a position to keep an eye on him and institute corrective action if necessary.