How can you figure out when there is a correlation between family and missing work? At what point do problems in your personal life begin to threaten your professional one? There are a few key ways to figure out if there is a genuine problem, and a few steps you can take to fix the problem.
Repeatedly Riding or Missing Deadlines
One of the easiest ways to tell if family issues are causing you to miss too much work is by how often you find yourself riding deadlines up to the last minute, or even missing them entirely. You don't have to be out of the office to miss work, you know! If you find that you're feeling the crunch on a a regular basis, or that you have to ask for extensions or apologize to your co-worker and boss for missing deadlines, you've got a serious problem to work on. Not only does this indicate that your personal life is effecting your professional life, it also shows that there is a chance that you are in danger of losing your job!
Clocking In Late, Clocking Out Early
Most of us have jobs that require us to be there for a specific amount of time, regardless of how much work we get done. For example, if you've got the average 9-to-5 grind, your boss expects you to arrive promptly at nine o' clock and to clock out no earlier than 5 o'clock. It might start slowly at first, with you showing up at ten passed nine o'clock, and knocking off of work ten minutes early. However, if you find that family issues are beginning to cause you to show up late and force you to leave early, this can become a problem. As an employee, you're paid based on the amount of time you spend doing specific tasks, and by short-changing your company on this time, you run the risk of hurting your job security.
Lack of Stress Management
Your work quality has been slipping, you feel unfocused and unbalanced, and when Tom from accounting asked if he could borrow your stapler for the third time today, you nearly stapled his tie to your cubical wall. Much like missing deadlines, turning in work that is poorly finished, feelings of dread and depression, and a short temper are all signs that family issues are causing problems in your professional life.
Missing Multiple Days of Work
You find yourself calling in and struggling to explain vaguely that you have family issues to your boss. The first couple of days your boss might be understanding, especially about the sensitive subject of family and missing work, but if you find that you have to call off more than a day or two of work, your boss might begin to become impatient with you. If you begin to sense that there is tension between you and your boss or coworkers, or that you have fallen behind at work to the point of not feasibly being able to catch up, you're probably missing too much work.
Combating Family Issues & Professional Obligations
Family issues are hard and can take a toll on pretty much anyone. But what can you possibly do when they rear their ugly head and make it harder to keep up with your professional obligations? Believe it or not, there are a few things that you can do to help level the playing field when it comes to family and missing work, so here are a few tips that hopefully can help.
Assess the Severity of the Family Issues
Obviously there are different levels of severity when it comes to family issues. For example, a death in the family, a sick or injured family member, or the difficult subject of divorce are serious problems that would interfere with everyone's work, regardless of who they are. An angsty teenager complaining over lack of freedom, an unsettled feud between family members, or just an ongoing yet relatively harmless fight with a spouse are also a pain to deal with, but usually can be managed once you're off the clock. If you know that your family issues aren't in dire need of immediate attention, try to set up a time after work or on weekends to fix them as soon as you can. Your job might just rely on it!
Work from Home
For some family issues, you might just need to be physically present at your house to solve them. For example, say your rowdy pre-teen son made a poor choice involving a can of spray paint and the wall of his school, which has managed to give him one week of out-of-school suspension. Or maybe your dog recently had surgery and you have to keep an eye on her stitches to make sure they heal up just fine. Whatever the reason, if you just need to provide a watchful eye on the home front, ask about working from home for a few days. Not only will this solve the problem of needing to be at home, it's a great way to relax from the stress of the office place while you catch up on any projects that you've missed.
Request Time Off
For the sake of your co-workers, including poor Tom who just seems to keep misplacing his stapler, sometimes using up vacation days to deal with family issues is for the better. Yes, dealing with family issues are far from a relaxing vacation, but the vindication you feel after dealing with difficult issues and returning to work unhampered by the stress is sure to be worth it!