More than halfway through Indeed’s list of why people resign, and at number ten, is because you, the employee, feel conflicted about workplace policies. Indeed goes on to say that if your company’s policies for telecommuting, (which is the posh word for working from home), the vacation, sick, and holiday paid time off, do not align with your personal needs then you should resign. That might sound a bit harsh, but most employers would agree that if conflicts with company policies having to do with where you are expected to be and when you are expected to be there conflict with what you can do or want to do, then even as much as everyone might like each other or need someone in that role, the company and/or job within that company are just not right for you.

The reason I stated “the company and/or the job within the company” above is that oftentimes in the workplace there may be jobs that can be better done from home than others. A good example is that Superintendents must be present on the job site. A Project Management position can be performed remotely with some companies, or with a combination of on site, corporate office, and home as typically the project management role runs conducive to the qualifications and logistics of the projects assigned and the people assigned to those projects.

Other roles in construction such as Project Administration, Project Accounting, Project Controls, etc. may have various amounts of telecommuting flexibility depending on the culture and structure of the company and how well communication processes and the individual themselves communicate for the achievement of the project, team members and company success. If your co-workers must chase you down for information to do their job instead of you communicating when you will provide the information and follow through with what you commit to, chasing you down will get old to your co-workers impacting your relationships with them. This ultimately will have an affect on the company’s overall performance and profitability. Remotely working individuals and teams must rely on effective communication to eliminate doubt with others as to their commitment to the job and others at the organization.

In an article by 15Five, the author does an excellent job of breaking down how employers calculate the return on investment of employees and how both turnover and absenteeism affect the performance and profitability of the company itself. Why should it matter to you? The degree of how mutually engaged and committed both you and your co-workers are, the more profitable the company can be and therefore create both stability and growth. In construction, the profitability of projects and companies also means bonus potential. The 15Five online article referenced above states that,

“On average, 1.2% of total working days (3 days per year) are unearned paid time off. To calculate your costs due to absenteeism, take 1.2% of revenue per employee and add that to 1.2% of  average employee salary. This represents the individual impact to the business when an employee is absent with unearned PTO.”

The most common administrative, accounting and management packages that we review for a new hire include fifteen paid time off days upon hire (sick, vacation, personal) and seven standard holidays. There are 365 days in a calendar year and 104 Saturdays and Sundays. A full-time employee is typically expected to work 239 calendar days a year or approximately 20 days a month on average. Families with school-age children can have a conflict some or all of the year if they do not have childcare accommodations for the difference between the average US school year being 180 days and not the 239 days expected of a full-time employee in construction and most other businesses. Your employer and colleagues count on you to be there to get your job done. And, although, most employers understand that family comes first, when you commit to taking the job, there is an expectation of making absenteeism that is family-related during working hours to be planned around the allotted company work hours, holidays, vacation and paid time off schedules.

For twelve years I worked from an office within my home and staff worked from my home also. It allowed us to raise our daughters while my husband needed to be present on high-rise building projects. Even though I was the business owner and could technically set my schedule, I could have easily filled the days volunteering at school, being at all their activities after school, and acceded to the children’s request to leave work more. I found that we had to have discussions, set schedules, and find a balance that not only worked for me and my family but also for the rest of the team, our clients, and associates that were counting on us to do a job and provide support to them. Over the years my company and many of the companies I work with have been willing to work with employees during times of special need for extended time off within reason and according to the employee’s track record. When an employee has ownership of their job and responsibilities in construction management, administrative, or accounting and life happens for them, either temporarily or with something bigger, their work-family most always steps up to the plate to help them through the situation.

Another thing to consider is that when candidates change jobs after working with their past employer for a long period of time, they may have earned additional time off due to their longevity. That added time off can not necessarily be granted with new employment. Employers have policies in place to create equality and productivity within the workplace. There will be a learning curve and the new employee will need relational ramp-up time with the new employer to be able to perform their job optimally. They will need time to develop both interactions with their teammates as well as learning what is expected of the job and how the company policies translate from paper to the workplace. This is just like they say the first year of marriage is the most important as it sets the tone and builds the marital foundation, the first year in a new company is also the most important as the same relational process is happening.

Consider the below, if you are either soliciting new employment or you are staying with your current employer

When soliciting new employment:

  1. Before accepting the position, it is important to understand the comparison between paid time off policies and the expectations regarding working hours and logistics. If your new position encompasses a telecommuting arrangement, find out if that will carry over after training with your new employer and into the future.
  2. Make sure you discuss differences in new vs. old employment with your significant other, friends, and family before making the change. Help them to understand that you may have had more flexibility at your current job because of the longevity with them, yet you are making the move to elevate your career. Help them to understand that the new commitment is important to you and your employer to formulate success.

If you are staying with your current employer:

  1. If you have been a dedicated employee in your current job and a need arises requiring exceptional circumstances, professionally approach your employer as soon as you know there is a need for an unexpected absence. Help formulate the plan for your employer before discussions by offering solutions such as who will be able to cover your responsibilities in your absence.
  2. There will be times in the lifecycle of a project where taking time off is detrimental to the project to keep within contractual obligations. If your lifestyle does not allow for you to accommodate those circumstances and your previous company had larger project teams then this is another important and essential conversation you will want to have before making any employment change. Certain companies are just not structured to always provide coverage.

Know the plan and work within the plan when it comes to paid time off and expectations on telecommuting and work hours. If you can’t, then don’t be surprised when your employer denies your request. After all, they have a business to run and others that are counting on them also.

To Feeling Aligned With Workplace Policies,

Suzanne Breistol


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