APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps an employee struggling with not socialising as she is working from home due to the pandemic and a woman who wants to negotiate her salary without sounding greedy.
Q. The office I work in has been pretty much closed since March and we’ve all been working from home. I live in a flat on my own and not seeing my colleagues has been really tough as we used to socialise together a lot.
I feel like my relationships with my co-workers are almost non-existent now – how can I build them back up again?
Sue, via email
A. Before coronavirus, many of us worked from home once in a while, but now that we are permanently at home for the foreseeable future, there are some great advantages – the commute is just from your bedroom to your computer, for example. But there are also disadvantages, including isolation and lack of human contact. As you say, relationships with co-workers have become much harder.
My suggestion is to use Zoom to recreate the coffee break, so you have the opportunity to chat about non-work things. Take the time to ask someone how they are doing and really listen to their answer. Try sending voice notes rather than WhatsApps – texts often don’t convey what you’re really thinking, as it’s hard to capture the right tone. A message to congratulate a colleague on something they’ve achieved inside or outside of work will go down really well and help you reconnect.
Also, think of other ways you can interact. In one of my businesses we’ve set up a monthly alternative to a book club called The Goggle Club where we Zoom and talk about the TV shows we’re loving. Focus on reconnecting on a human level and talking about more than just work.
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Q. I’m quite a way through the recruitment process for what sounds like a fantastic job.
However, I know that if I am successful, I’ll need to negotiate the salary, as what is being offered is below what I currently earn – and thisfills me with dread. Do you have any tips on how to go about doing this without sounding greedy?
Lia, via email
A. In an ideal world, we would all have jobs we love that pay oodles of money, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case! So how do you get the salary you want without being perceived as greedy or pushy? Don’t be frightened that they will say no – it’s about knowing your worth and getting your prospective employer to see that. How successful you are on getting what you want is all down to the negotiation.
First, be really clear that you want to work for them and the reasons why this is the case. Be transparent about why you want the salary you are asking for and take into account your current salary and the market rate for similar roles. But equally important is the value you will add to their company if they pay you what you are worth. Make sure you explain in detail what you can do for them.
You need to build your case as to why the salary they have offered for someone of your skills is too low, so that they increase it – they are not out to get you on the cheap, but equally, the recruiter’s job is to employ you for the lowest salary you are prepared to take! If you don’t ask for the salary you want, no one will give it to you. Be gracious about their offer and be confident in your counter-offer. Best of luck!
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled by: Claire Frost
- Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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