Published August 30, 2022 by USA Today | By Rayna Song

Employees sometimes need to handle tough situations at work, such as asking for a pay increase or deciding to leave the company. But there are time-tested ways to help ensure a smooth and professional process that gets workers where they want to be and employers ready for a new hire.

Experts advise that you consider your achievements and skills before talking with your supervisors about a raise, notify the company two to six weeks before you leave and change your environment if you feel drowsy at work.

How to ask for a raise

You should keep a record of your achievements that have impacted the company positively and focus on your skills that allow you to stand out from your colleagues. Before going to your manager, you should also check how competitive your salary is compared to the industry.

The achievements could be small, such as sending successful client emails, said Michelle Hay, global chief people officer at business solutions provider Sedgwick, but they could help you to negotiate better when asking for a raise.

“Employees need to self-evaluate on how they are adding value beyond what is expected of them. If an employee comes to the table with proof points of why they feel they qualify for a raise, it creates a more fluid discussion and demonstrates professionalism,” Hay said.

How to give notice at work

If you are in an executive position, you should plan to notify the company four to six weeks before leaving, said Bobbi Kloss, director of human capital management services at Benefit Advisors Network, a network for benefit consulting companies. However, if your position is less senior, you could notify the company two weeks in advance. 

“Employees should ensure that along with proper notice, a positive attitude toward finishing up tasks, preparing supervisors for what is left, and perhaps training the replacement will go a long way,” Kloss said.

The notification period depends on how much work needs to be transitioned, said Elisabeth Duncan, vice president of human resources at communication technology platform Evive, and workers who are leaving should make themselves available to help with this transition.

Although it could be intimidating to ask for a job raise or leave your current company, you could take several steps to ensure a smooth and professional process.

How to make time go faster at work

If you don’t enjoy the job and wish for time to go faster, you could try to change your attitude toward the job, so that you feel you are helping the business progress, Kloss said. You could also try to find a new job you feel passionate about.

Duncan said you could set little goals and celebrate these achievements in meaningful ways, so that you could focus more on the celebration rather than the work aspect. You could also focus on skills developed in the position, she added.

“Being able to give yourself perspective on why you’re in a job. Is it a stepping stone? Does it open a door? Does it give you a networking connection? And if you’re in one of those jobs, look around and see what you can do to leverage your time,” Duncan said.

How to stay awake at work

Sleeping enough and eating a healthy diet provide the foundation for having energy at work. But you could try different methods to stay awake, such as changing the work environment or going for a workout.

“When you give your mind a break, it can actually be sharper. It’s like draining a battery. If you step away and let it recharge, it then can function at full speed,” Duncan said.

How to boost morale in the workplace

Building relationships with colleagues and celebrating achievements could boost overall morale, Duncan said, as morale is something collective influenced by everyone on the team. 

Employees should also have honest conversations with managers about their motivations and work together to boost morale, Hay said. Some employees might feel more motivated with incentives, while others might enjoy team activities.

“Managers should encourage employees to take breaks throughout the workday, and sometimes that means leading by example, whether not responding to emails when on vacation or after working hours,” Hay said.