Make us your home page
Instagram

Pregnant employee's forgetfulness becomes an issue

Q: One of my employees claims to be suffering from "pregnancy brain." "Kate" was always a little spacey, but in recent weeks she has become extremely forgetful. Tasks which she routinely performed for years are now being overlooked, and I'm beginning to get complaints from other departments.

I don't want to seem unsympathetic or be accused of discrimination, but I need to solve this problem. When I asked Kate how I could help, she suggested that I just keep reminding her about things that need to be done. That's obviously not realistic, so how do I handle this?

A: Although opinions vary about the cause, medical experts generally agree that pregnancy can affect cognitive processes, so Kate's explanation is probably valid. When discussing these concerns with her, the best approach is not to criticize, but to demonstrate understanding while requesting help in solving the most crucial problems.

For example: "Kate, I'm sure these memory issues are frustrating for you, so let's discuss some strategies for managing them. I'm particularly concerned about budget reports and data needed by other departments. Do you have any ideas for creating reminders in those areas?"

Regardless of whether she prefers computer-generated prompts or strategically placed sticky notes, the objective is simply to trigger Kate's memory at appropriate times. But before having any pregnancy-related discussion, be sure to avoid legal pitfalls by consulting your labor attorney or human resources manager.

Co-worker's errors creating more work

Q: I have been struggling for months to keep up with a steadily increasing workload. My manager recognized the problem and assigned a co-worker to help, but this is doing more harm than good. Although "Rachel" completes tasks very quickly, she tends to make a lot of errors.

Now, in addition to doing my own work, I have to spend time fixing Rachel's mistakes. I don't want to sound unappreciative, but her assistance has actually made my job more difficult. Whenever I mention this to my boss, he immediately defends Rachel. What should I do?

A: If you can choose what to delegate to your error-prone colleague, you might try giving her tasks which are simpler or more familiar. But if you have no choice about her assignment, perhaps you should rethink the way you handle her mistakes.

As long as you continue to fix her blunders, Rachel will never learn to do things properly. Completing the work yourself only fosters her incompetence, so consider returning the errors to her for correction. While this may take more time initially, it will help Rachel become a more useful assistant.

A third possibility is to revise the way you present this issue to your boss. Based on his defensive reaction, I assume you have been complaining about Rachel's ineptitude, but a better strategy is to request his help in solving a business problem.

To illustrate the difference, here's what complaining sounds like: "Rachel makes so many mistakes that she's really no help at all. She's fast, but she's careless, so working with her only makes my job more difficult."

This is a more effective approach: "I really appreciate your asking Rachel to help out with my heavy workload. My only concern is that her lack of experience limits her ability to do these tasks correctly. Since working with her hasn't saved any time, I'd like to discuss some other possible solutions."

Managers hate dealing with employee squabbles, so they often react badly to gripes about co-workers. A businesslike request for assistance will usually elicit a more helpful response.

Pregnant employee's forgetfulness becomes an issue 03/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2014 6:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report

    Corporate

    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month

    Autos

    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.