Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

Contact HR about getting a chair that won't cause discomfort

Q: I am over 6 1/2 feet tall, yet I have the same size desk chair as my much shorter co-workers. Every day, I have pain in my neck, back and shoulders from slumping over. I try to occasionally stand up, stretch and walk about, but the pain returns as soon as I sit down.

To accommodate my height, I need a larger chair with a higher back. I work for a major corporation, so the expense should not be an issue. But my supervisor says that if I get a different chair, he will have to grant special requests from other employees. This makes no sense to me, but he won't budge. What should I do?

A: Since your foolish boss is ignoring your unusual circumstances, don't waste any more time trying to convince him. Instead, contact the corporate human resources or safety department. Any large corporation will have specialists who understand the need to accommodate individual differences and prevent work-related injury claims.

Once you get the attention of the right person, your problem should be quickly solved. But don't stop with the chair. To prevent ergonomic issues, you must also be sure that your computer and monitor are properly positioned for your height.

Calmly ask bosses about restoring pay

Q: A couple of years ago, after our small construction company was hit hard by the recession, all employees received a 5 percent pay cut. Last year, the owners told us that if a couple of big projects came through, our pay would be restored in 2012.

I recently learned through the grapevine that these raises were given out two months ago. Another employee and I apparently were the only ones excluded. This seems highly unfair, because last year the two of us closed the biggest deal in company history. However, we don't suck up to the owners like everyone else.

I would like to address this issue, but I don't want to make the situation worse. What do you suggest?

A: Although you and your colleague would undoubtedly love to chastise the owners for their surreptitious salary increases, the safest approach is to simply ask a factual question in a nonconfrontational manner.

For example: "We recently heard that many people had their 5 percent pay cut restored some time ago. If this is true, we're interested in finding out when our salaries might return to the previous level. Do you know when this is likely to happen?" Then stop talking and wait for the answer.

As long as you deliver this communication in a calm, businesslike tone, your bosses should not take offense. Just be sure to qualify your statement by saying "if this is true," because grapevine information is frequently inaccurate or incomplete.

For the sake of your career, however, you should also consider why the owners may have chosen to withhold your raise. One clue may be found in the assertion that you do not "suck up" like "everyone else." If this means that you have a tendency to be argumentative or oppositional, then management may be trying to send you a message.

Use information to your advantage

Q: You recently printed a letter from a woman who resented her manager's frequent requests for information. When faced with a similar situation, I decided that I could use my boss' desire for data to my own advantage.

I began preparing a weekly activity report which summarized the problems encountered by my team and explained how we planned to resolve them. I also gave examples of our going "above and beyond" to keep customers satisfied. To ensure that my manager's boss was aware of my contributions, I copied him on these emails.

During my annual review, I was able to use information from the activity reports to justify my request for a pay increase. Instead of complaining, your letter-writer needs to realize that ongoing communication is just part of "managing your boss."

A: Your weekly activity summaries are a great example of the art of appropriate self-promotion. Thanks for sharing an instructive personal experience.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18