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My Work Email Is Flooded With Queries on Completion Timeline by a Coworker

I have a coworker who is a compulsive micro-manager. She likes to send multiple emails in a day as reminders to get the work done on time.

The moment any work file lands on my computer, she is busy sending emails. If you ignore that, she texts or even calls. The constant interruptions are distracting. They take the focus away from work as I am forced to answer her every few minutes. It shows distrust and is upsetting as I spend half the time worrying about her haranguing me to finish work.

I always complete my work on time and I see no need for such follow-ups. I have even brought this to the attention of my boss, but he insists that there is nothing wrong in such behavior and she was just doing her job. He also insists that she is good at her job.

I have tried to explain to her that her behavior is unacceptable, have even ticked her off, but to no effect. What should be done?

This seems to be a serious problem. Typically, a gentle complaint to the boss should have stopped the unnecessary follow-up email, texts and calls.

The boss’s answer that she is just trying to do her job and doing it well is not correct. He has missed the point entirely. The co-worker is not doing her job well. On the contrary, she is showing complete disregard for her coworker and disrupting the workflow. She is making the workday harder by her behavior and makes you dread any communication from her.

Regards,
Distracted Daisy 

work email from boos or coworker

Give a chance to yourself and the coworker before you end up whining about the job.

Jane: You have already tried to tell her that her behavior is distracting and even ticked her off, to no avail. My advice is to initiate a formal dialogue with her. Tell her calmly and clearly that her behavior is not what is expected of a coworker. “You constantly are after me to finish on time. The constant interruptions and urges to deliver on time act as distractions and take focus and concentration away from work and act as delays rather than helpful.” Say that you would appreciate it if she stopped all such communication immediately. If and when you ever delay in submitting the work on time, then you will have another chat with her.

Talk to her before a project starts —about how she will be involved. Try to agree on the timeline and boundaries. How you will let her know of your progress once a day if she is so anxious to know?

If that does not work, then filter out her emails, put your phone on silent and let her calls go to voicemail. Inform her that you are no longer going to entertain her calls and emails. She does not need to get in touch with you until and unless you are delayed in work submission.

To add pressure, you can ask your other colleagues who are upset with her behavior to join in the conversation later on. 

Despite all these efforts, if the colleague still does not desist, you have at least warned her off about your non-communication.

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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