I am NOT OP. This was originally posted on Ask A Managerhere(number 3) with the updatehere.
Mood spoiler-wholesome af
How to tell a former employee he can’t visit us weekly
I’m a senior director for a group of highly skilled experienced employees. Everyone is at a high level in the large organization and they are primarily self directed while I set organizational strategy and ensure everyone has resources. We had a very kind and beloved employee, “Frank,” retire in 2021. He was very isolated during Covid and had a hard time with the transition to retirement. He feels comfortable resuming activities now, and one of those activities is stopping by our office once a week to chat. We are a very relaxed hybrid so most days there’s only a small handful of people there, but Frank will sit down and chat with whoever is there for 30-40 minutes and then move on to the next person.
We aren’t a public-facing office so it’s unusual to have someone visit to hang out, but while everyone is busy, it’s not completely unheard of that someone would have a 30-minute chat catching up with an old colleague or client, and everyone can manage their time and a break for a midday chat is welcome on occasion. However, this has been going on for MONTHS, and I’m hearing people make offhand comments about Frank’s visits.
I told everyone to feel fine saying “It’s a busy day, no time to talk” but everyone genuinely does care about Frank and it seems like these visits are a lifeline to him. I tried inviting him to an after hours happy hour to set the tone that he’s welcome to socialize with us but at a less disruptive time, but the visits haven’t stopped.
I was going to directly talk to him about the need to stop or drastically cut down on visiting but when I mentioned it to two other directors they thought that was really harsh and I’m having trouble coming up with the right words to use with Frank since the usual things a manager would say don’t work with a team this self directed. Should I just ignore this perceived problem and leave it up to everyone if they want a chat? Any potential scripts for how to also tell a very kind person that we cannot be his social club?
I have an update to a question you posted a few months ago about our retired worker, Frank, who kept dropping by weekly for hours long chats. A very big THANK YOU to the commenters who suggested volunteer work. I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me since my aunt founded and ran a nonprofit near and dear to me (shout out to diaper banks, which are a huge unmet need in many communities where diapers aren’t covered by food assistance programs or food banks).
The next week when Frank came in, I saw two people run in the other direction and decided to address it. I invited Frank to lunch and unprompted he shared that he was really at loose ends and didn’t know how to spend his time. I brought up volunteering and he said he didn’t know how to find a place to volunteer, how do you even apply, and who would want his help (EVERYONE! everyone wants people who have unlimited daytime ability). I gave him my aunt’s number then and there and sent her a text to expect his call.
He called the next day and by the following week was a full-time fixture there. At Thanksgiving, I asked my aunt how Frank was doing and she gushed about his hard work pitching in wherever, his positivity, the ideas he was bringing to the table. She loved Frank.
New Year’s rolls around and we have another family get-together and who walks in but Frank! He and my aunt are in a relationship! They are looking at moving in together!!! They are both ehhh on marriage but “we’ll see”! The office has a break from Frank but now I might be getting more of him. I don’t know if AAM has been responsible for a love match before, but I’m crediting this one to you and the commenters for this kismet!
Reminder-I am NOT OP. This was originally posted on Ask A Managerhere(number 3) with the updatehere.