6

In my company we all work remotely.

  • We are located in different time zones.
  • There is however, one of the time zones where most of the people are located (not all). I am not in that time zone. Other people either.
  • Most of the people adapts to that time zone (not all). There are some employees who are in other time zones and are granted.
  • For me, it was agreed since the beginning that I would also stick to the main time zone.

However, after some time I realized it does not work for me. I really need to work normal office hours. I told my boss about it in a soft manner, and was discussed to find out solutions but this was like very soft. In general he prefers me to stick to the main time zone to increase the chance to have calls with other people, synch etc.

Now for me this has become a deal breaker. I.e. If I cannot work on office hours of the time zone I am located, I would quit for another job. On the other hand, the other conditions of my current job are better than the other, so I would stay in the first one, would it be possible to change this thing with the time zone.

So I want to talk to my boss but not just tell him I am a bit uncomfortable with the time zone issue, but to tell the straight message: Either I can have a schedule that matches my current time zone or I will quit.

Question: How can I tell this, in a very clear crispy way, without sounding rude, impolite or pushy? I.e. I want the message to be totally clear. However I would like to make it sound polite and considerate, and not to make it sound like I will quit tomorrow but within the next couple of months. Communication would be in English.

  • 5
    Possible duplicate of How to give a polite ultimatum? – gnat Nov 22 '19 at 10:13
  • 1
    Would your normal office hours overlap at all with the main time zone's office hours? How often do you get calls/need to collaborate with someone in the main office? – mkennedy Nov 22 '19 at 18:06
  • Very random. Sometimes very often, sometimes almost none. – Worker Nov 25 '19 at 12:54
9

First thing first, be careful with ultimatums. If you really want to make it clear that it is a deal-breaker to you, here's what I'd do (and as a manager, how I'd like it to be done):

1. Send an e-mail for an appointment to your manager

Hi/Hello [Name/Surname depending on how close you are]

Can we schedule a meeting between the two of us to discuss the timezone issue we already talked about? I thought I could continue this way but now, I'm not sure, I really hope we can find a solution together to enable me to work in the local timezone.

Regards,

...

This e-mail makes it clear you can't continue working in this timezone but also that you want to sort things out.

2. The meeting

Explain the reasons why you can't continue (family/personal constraints etc.) without saying bluntly you'll quit if they disagree. Instead, phrase it this way:

I don't think I can continue this way, but I [like/love] (your call) my job and I really hope we can find a solution together.

You're basically saying you'll quit if things don't change - but the important point is that you want to continue with them and you're a team player.

Highlight the fact that you want to continue your job with different modalities, not the fact that you'll quit.

3

OK, so you had an agreement, and now you want a change, and you want it bad.

Considering the local-zone work time is the priority for you, this time,

  • have a formal discussion and
  • firmly put the proposition on the table.

Point to Note: Ensure that you have other job opportunities lined up, before getting into the "all-out" mode.

Remember three things (applicable for any general negotiation):

  • Never say / utter the words "I'll quit" while you're throwing an ultimatum.
  • Always make sure to convey that the changes you are proposing are not going to affect the team / organization in a negative way. Also show that you're ready to go the extra mile, as and when needed, to cover up for any issues that might occur because of the change.
  • Always have an alternate suggestion ready, make the chances of acceptance higher.

Following the above guidelines, you can say something like:

"Hey Boss, I know we discussed this earlier, but more recently, due to some personal obligations, I need to re-schedule my shift timing to be aligned with my local timezone. This will have an overlap with the main timezone for X hours [put exact hours here], so that I can communicate with the team and vice-versa, and I expect to make myself available for any occasional exception to that routine."

--- Show that you're not doing a one-sided demand, you've thought about the company and the team, too and you are committed to ensure that this change from your side does not impact the existing productivity / outcome.

"At this moment, this change has the priority to me. Just to make it clear, I'm very much interested in continuing with the team and the organization, if this change could be made, it'll be possible for me to continue the engagement."

--- There, you've said it, without saying "quit"

"Finally, if you feel that this change could not me made permanent right now, with your approval, I'm willing to take this as a trial it a try and we can have a review on the outcome in a month or two. After that, if we both feel the outcome is satisfactory, we can have this change be made more permanent. Do you agree?"

--- An alternate, instead for an immediate change, propose to try it out first, if it works."

  • OP seems to be saying that the agreement was to stick to the main time zone, not their local time zone. – Geoffrey Brent Nov 22 '19 at 10:07
  • Thank you Sourav. However I really miss in that speech the main message. It is not that I have priorities. It is that he has to choose, either grant it to me, or I will quit. In that message is clear that I want to have my own time-zone schedule. But not that I will quit if otherwise not granted. – Worker Nov 22 '19 at 10:07
  • @Worker Sorry, I mis-read the question, How about it now? – Sourav Ghosh Nov 22 '19 at 10:21
  • @Worker I see your point, however outright stating that you're going to quit if you don't have this granted can come across as a threat and may be less likely to get co-operation from your boss. However, phrasing your difficulty without saying you'll quit puts you in a better position where they will be more likely to co-operate than think "They'll just quit anyway so there's no point in trying to salvage this situation". – Longisland Nov 22 '19 at 10:56
2

it was agreed since the beginning that I would also stick to the main time zone. However, after some time I realized it does not work for me. I really need to work normal office hours.

Now for me this has become a deal breaker.

So I want to talk to my boss but not just tell him I am a bit uncomfortable with the time zone issue, but to tell the straight message: Either I can have a schedule that matches my current time zone or I will quit.

Question: How can I tell this, in a very clear crispy way, without sounding rude, impolite or pushy?

There's no need to be rude, impolite or pushy. But you do need to clearly explain how important this is for you, and that you need to know if it will work out or not. You need to be direct and clear in what you want.

Something like: "Boss. When I started here I agreed to work on during the main time zone hours.

But I've come to realize that it simply doesn't work for me. I need a job that works on normal office hours.

I like working here, I like working with you, and other than the hours, I like the job. I'd like to stay if I could be moved to normal hours.

Can we work this out, or should I start looking elsewhere?"

Then listen to the response and act accordingly.

-2

I'd phrase it something like:

Hey Boss, when I started here I thought I was going to be okay with working on head office time, but I'm finding that it's just taking too much out of me. For the sake of my health/family life [as applicable] I need to get into more regular working hours. I enjoy working here and I want to stay with the company, so I really hope we can work something out, but I need to take care of my health.

If it seems like it would help, consider finding a doctor who will tell you that working sensible hours is important to your health. This shouldn't be hard since the harmful effects of shift work and sleep disruption are very well known, and then you can phrase it as "My doctor has advised me..."

You could consider offering a compromise where you normally work local hours but change your hours for important meetings etc. If you do this, though, you need to make sure that it stays as an occasional thing and not a regular occurrence, otherwise you'll be dealing with even more sleep disruption from an irregular routine.

  • Downvoters, care to give a reason? – Geoffrey Brent Nov 22 '19 at 23:12

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