Five Reasons Your Employees Like It When You Stay Home

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It’s Tuesday, and you wake up feeling a little under the weather.

Or, today is that workshop you enrolled in. Or, today your new refrigerator is being delivered … sometime between 8 am and 4 pm.

Whatever the reason, you’re not coming into work today. And when your employees heard the news, they popped their heads over their cubes, gave each other a “high five,” and began grinning ear to ear.

That’s because they like it better when you stay home.

5 reasons why it’s nice when you’re out

Here are five reasons why.

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  1. They actually get work done. You, my friend, sometimes impede your staff from getting work done. You interrupt them incessantly, breaking their attention away from tasks and forcing them to regroup after you’re gone. Stuff comes up, and they know that. But let’s face it. Your stuff is kind of avoidable and mostly stems from your own disorganization.
  2. They won’t have to deal with your unpredictable temper. Sometimes you get frustrated when things don’t go your way, and you take it out on your staff. Your boss criticizes you for filing that form late, and you blame your subordinate, but you never assigned him to file the form. You’re responsible, but you won’t accept that, so you throw poor Jim under the bus instead. No one wants to see you do that to Jim, and no one wants to be Jim either.
  3. They won’t have to be in the middle of your managerial drama. Rick in Sales hates you, and you hate Mary in Marketing and Phil in Production. Your staff gets it. But, they don’t want to be in the middle of your drama, which includes ignoring this one and refusing that one’s request, and just generally having to deal with a bunch of political bull you’ve created for reasons of your own. Your staff just wants to work. Honest.
  4. They won’t have to hear your jokes made at their expense. I know you crack yourself up, but your staff does not like the nicknames you’ve assigned each of them. They have real names. Legal names, even. Use them.
  5. When you’re around, you make them feel invisible. You’re the boss, yes they know. But everything is about you. Your employees need you to act as though they matter some. They need your empathy and your concern. They need you to take a genuine interest in their careers. Can you do that? No? That’s why they like it better when you’re not around. Your disinterest isn’t so marked then. They can bond with each other and forget about you for a day.

Follow up — and listen

I’m not saying you’re a terrible person, but you could definitely be a better boss. Try it.

Look your employee in the eye when you speak to her. Say “please” and “thank you.” Ask how someone is doing or how you could help and then wait to hear the answer. Follow up. Listen up.

There’ll still be times when you need to be out of the office, but wouldn’t it be better if your staff actually looked forward to your return?

Crystal Spraggins, SPHR, is an HR consultant and freelance writer who lives in Philadelphia. She also writes at her blog, HR BlogVOCATE. For the past 15 years, Crystal has focused on building HR departments in small- to mid-sized companies under the philosophy that "HR is not for wimps." She is also the CEO and Founder of Work It Out! and partners with HRCVision, a full-service HR consultant practice specializing in leadership and diversity training. Contact her at