Office Politics 101: Retiring the frequent visits

Q: This may sound rather heartless, but a retired employee comes around quite often and interrupts us — and his visits can be annoying.

Q: This may sound rather heartless, but a retired employee comes around quite often and interrupts us.  He is a great guy, but his visits can be annoying. What can we do to discourage him?

A: It’s an extremely sensitive matter because he believes you appreciate his visits while you would prefer he didn’t drop by — at least not so frequently.

He is apparently under the misunderstanding his visits are genuinely valued and that the conversations are not interruptions, but welcomed social times.

You don’t identify when he retired, but my guess is that it was within the last year or so. He is probably still going through work “withdrawal”.

Men in particular seem to identify with their work to the degree that retirement can sometimes cause depression.

He may even be lonely and is missing the fellowship of colleagues. This can be understandable, especially if he has a small circle of friends or is single.

If you think back to his retirement party — which I am presuming you attended — the MC may have invited him “to keep in touch,” which is a common phrase.

The problem is that he has taken it too literally.

Does he have a close friend in the office? Perhaps it is his or her invitations that are promoting him to come by and once there, he naturally turns his attention to others.

You say he is “a great guy,” which presumably means he is not self-absorbed and emotionally needy; this should make any communication regarding this issue somewhat less challenging.

One informal option would be to identify his friend and encourage him or her to share the concerns of the office. The message should be extremely gentle but it would be less upsetting coming from someone close.

A more systematic approach might involve the HR department which could organize regular — perhaps quarterly — social events specifically for retirees.

These events, implicitly, would replace the current casual drop-ins.

Any communication with him needs to stress that you miss working with him but that in order to give him the attention he deserves, the times for conviviality need to be scheduled and outside of work hours.

An additional benefit of a planned event is that other retirees will also be invited which may allow him to re-kindle friendships which could possibly diminish his need to drop by your office.

Your compassion for him is critical.

While he can’t be permitted to continue interrupting your work day, you don’t want to make him feel unwanted.

Consider a somewhat formal social which could allow him to continue his relationships with former colleagues and, at the same time, connect with other retirees.

Simon Gibson is a university professor, marketing executive, corporate writer and civic leader. He is a graduate of four public universities, including Simon Fraser University, where he earned his doctorate in education. He also also holds a degree in journalism (honours) from Carleton University. His email address can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rideshare expands into eastern Langley

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Maple Ridge redirects $225,000 from RCMP to community safety needs

A new manager and two community safety officers join a team patrolling the city’s downtown streets

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion into Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Maple Ridge Return-It centre serves as pilot for new beverage recycling effort

Haney Bottle Depot will be part of a six-month trial where consumers don’t have to sort their cans

Foundation seeks to bring ‘meaningful’ art to Hammond

Asking Maple Ridge residents for suggestions on design and theme for two large community murals

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read