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THE QUESTION

I'm pretty much the new guy at my current company but my desk placement is really a huge problem for me. I work in a call centre so it is not like I can ever really get away from all the noise and talking. But it's where my desk is that bothers me the most. I was placed to the right of the main entrance. Half of the time the main door does not work properly so I end up being a highly paid doorman. I have made it known that I did not like where my desk is but so far I've gotten no real answers. I have only casually brought it up. My question is, how soon is too soon to ask for a change to my desk position?

THE FIRST ANSWER

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Bill Howatt

president of Howatt HR Consulting in Kentville, N.S.

Working in a call centre requires a great deal of patience to manage the different personalities that call for assistance. You get paid to provide a service where you are expected to be focused and ready to serve every client who calls. So whether you are the new guy is not the point. Your primary function is to provide excellent client service. The door appears to have become an unnecessary distraction. Getting up to open or close it can be annoying and inhibit your ability to respond immediately to client service calls.

You may be making a false assumption that since you are the new guy you are not allowed to be direct and give your point of view. This situation has nothing to do with how long you have been with the company. It is all to do with how you communicate your concern and make your ask. If the door were working properly, then moving might not necessary.

Get your facts clear and build your case. For example, over the next 10 shifts note how many times you are distracted from your post to deal with the door. Take this information to your manager and ask in a direct manner if they can help you find a solution. Make it clear how this door issue is disrupting your focus from providing your best service to clients.

Do not assume the manager will ignore your request. You may be surprised by having your facts and being clear that you may get what you want: a solution to the door issue. That may involve moving you or simply fixing the door.

One final point when delivering your message. Keep your emotions out, and any hint of a threat of what you might do if you don't get what you want. Keep the conversation professional and to the point.

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THE SECOND ANSWER

Marc-Etienne Julien

President of Randstad Canada, Montreal

Working in a call centre can be a competitive team environment. You want to be part of the team, but you also want to win.

Meeting your key performance indicators are crucial for the beginning of a sales or service role at a call centre; if your goals are being affected by the requirement that you open the door for others, put a stop to it by propping the door open and explain to your manager that your job is on the end of the a phone, not the end of a door handle.

This is a maintenance issue but it could also be a matter of workplace hazing. Either way, if it is hurting your performance, take it seriously. If it doesn't, use the door opening as a way to network internally, meeting your team and making light of value you are bringing to the organization by being such a welcoming face for the company.

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Sitting through a month of opening doors for others may be what's needed for others to open doors for you – stay positive and keep a smile on your face while you do this added step in your career progression. If it's still a problem after that, tell the building maintenance manager and your boss that the door is becoming a real problem and should be fixed to ensure your valued productivity is maintained.

Got a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that mine field? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com. Your confidentiality is ensured.

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