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It’s been about a week and she is still in the office.
I’m an personal assistant and my boss is one of the higher most people in the company. My desk is right outside of his office and I take his phone calls, make his appointments, and run errands for him.We’ve been asked not to reach out to her at all at this time.Our team is respecting that, but understand that eventually she will transition back to her prior role, which means we’ll be interacting with her frequently.I don’t want to treat her with kid gloves for the next five years as if she’s too frail to be a valued team member, but also don’t want to cheerfully say “We missed you so much! Part of me feels that we should simply ignore it — not ask her about how she’s doing now, but just update her on changes to our team/workflow as we would if someone was on maternity leave but just be more vague in phrasing — something like “while you were out, we’ve updated teapot printing to use this new program.” And then push back if she’s out of line or difficult, just like we would with anyone else. Just keep it brisk and breezy and don’t leave a long pause where she feels like she has to say something about her absence. I wanted to ask you about this teapot sale.” And yeah, I think “while you were out, we’ve updated X, Y, and Z” is just fine. It’s now November and although I have had video conferences with the team four or five times and many meetings on the phone with my manager, I haven’t actually met any of them.
Complicating this is that my team’s in another location, so we’ll interact via instant message, emails and phone calls, but the visual cues won’t be there. Be matter-of-fact about it, and don’t try to characterize her leave as anything other than “leave.” And yes, treat her normally, including pushing back if you need to (although at the same time, if you can cut her some extra slack there without it impacting your work, that would be a kind thing to do). Is it weird that I’ve never met my manager in person? I don’t have a “dotted line manager” anywhere, but I work with various teams in Europe and North America.” And if they said yes, you would have been justified in saying, “I don’t think this makes sense for me to do. Obviously you can’t do this if you still want to interview for the position, but if you have options, this might be a time to exercise them. My coworker is returning after a sensitive leave of absence A few months ago, a coworker who my team worked with daily attempted suicide at work.