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to speak to my boss about colleague abusing flexible working

(305 Posts)
hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 22:47:59

argh... let me say first of all I am not a clock watcher, I work in a stressful job and people frequently work over their hours and there is a general agreement that a few minutes here or there or a slightly longer lunch occasionally is more than deserved pay back. We are a good, supportive team and there is pretty much no bad feeling other than the occasional niggle which is always resolved openly and professionally (yey for us!)

Essentially we are very much trusted by our manger who knows how hard we all work and various members of staff have different flexible working patterns in place which works well.

Myself and another colleague have recently started working 'compressed hours' essentially we work 10 days worth of hours over 9 days and have the 10th day off. For this to work we take shorter lunches, and work an extra bit at the start and end of each day... or at least I do, my colleague is working normal hours but still taking the 10th day off. At first I thought she didn't understand the system (I requested it first and she piggybacked her own request on the back of mine) so had a chat with her about it explaining the system again.

A few months down the line and she is still basically taking the piss. She is close to retirement and was recently refused voluntary redundancy - she is annoyed with the organisation and when I have reiterated to her the importance of us doing 10 days over 9 (again this is not done in a horrible way just in a general discussion way)she basically laughs at me and says that the organisation owes her after years of service (which is probably a fair point but doesn't change the fact that she is getting a paid day off every 2 weeks).

I'm now in two minds whether or not to now go to my manager as I am getting nowhere discussing with her directly, or if I should just wind my neck in and let her get on with it after all it doesn't exactly directly impact on me.

My boss will come down on her like a ton of bricks as him trusting us not to abuse flexible working is a big thing when he could be a complete arse about it if he wanted to be and he will be really disappointed that she is doing this. I actually really like my colleague and don't want her to get into trouble but a) her wages come out of public money

and

b) I am absolutely shattered doing the longer days (a lot of this is also because I have a longish commute - she lives 10 mins away from work) but value the day off in return and don't feel it fair she is getting the same benefit without putting in the work - also other colleagues not formally doing compressed hours are working the same hours if not more than her and are not getting a day off at all!

As much as I like her I just think her attitude on this issue stinks.

Would I be unreasonable in having a word with my boss and creating bad feeling in the team?

Or am I being petty and it is my bosses job to notice this and sort it out? Its literally as little as coming in 10 mins late, taking an extra 30 mins for lunch and leaving 10 mins early but it all adds up to the extra 50 minutes we work extra each day to get the 10th day off.

hatgirl Sun 27-Jan-13 12:13:53

WidowWadman

I love the flowchart!

WidowWadman Sun 27-Jan-13 11:49:05

specialsubject only if you want to appear like a passive aggressive arse. I understand the annoyance at keeping to have explain the same thing over and over again and recommend passing on this handy flowchart, but the "plan" just would make her look like a really bad team player.

Alittlestranger Sun 27-Jan-13 10:48:57

YANBU to have a whinge about a colleague, but you would be BU to do anything about it.

You're not her manager and it's not having any impact on your workload. Your colleagues who are working ten day fortnights and putting in overtime probably think YABU to have negotiated an extra day off. Personally I hate compressed working, but I suppose it works in roles where you're just getting routine tasks completed and people don't actually need to have you around during working hours.

specialsubject Sun 27-Jan-13 10:28:52

HollaAtMeBaby -genius. That's the answer.

BeanJuice Sun 27-Jan-13 09:52:26

snazzynewyear i was honestly expecting to see something like that when i saw what the thread was about grin

Montybojangles Sun 27-Jan-13 08:21:08

You sound like you might be community nurse or similar. Personally, as a nurse myself who never gets time for lunch or even chance to pee some days , works far in excess of her contracted hours (for reasons you stated above) and is permenantly knackered I would be fuming if one of my colleagues were taking the piss this way. It's something I would discuss with my line manager if talking to my colleague hadn't worked, as potentially patient care could suffer due to her laziness and what's she's doing is fraud. It's also really bad for team morale.

lljkk Netherlands Sun 27-Jan-13 08:19:37

Sigh. What can of worms have I opened!

that's why it's useless asking many things on MN. None of us are living your life and will have to face the consequences or have it bothering their conscience, nobody else has as full a picture as you do. Forget Internet strangers and trust your own gut instincts on what to do.

If you're not mainly customer facing, like software development or if you work in something like sales you'll be given results to achieve or targets to hit then left to get on with it. If you do it all in one day a week then good on you. Most of the jobs I have had have been somhere in between. Unless you're on commission or self employed, your bosses tend to need to know how much the standard person gets done in a working week. In addition, they need to contact me, or call me into a meeting at short notice, or ask me to do something they hadn't planned but is urgent. So if I get all my work done by the end of Thursday, in theory I can take it easy on Friday, but can't go on holiday!

SminkoPinko Sun 27-Jan-13 00:52:30

What is a performance based role?

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 23:16:24

BeanJuice yes, drives me mad as well. I'm surprised no one has yet said how insensitive the OP is for not thinking that her co-worker might be sneaking off early to take soup to the homeless or nurse a gravely ill relative or some such. Let's face it, about 90% of MN could be deleted if we applied the 'none of your business' rule strictly and consistently.

Junebugjr Sat 26-Jan-13 23:11:16

If you are going to complain about her, you need to be pretty clear about where she's missing the 50 mins from, otherwise you could end up on the sharp end. Without proof management would find it difficult to sack her. Management also sound quite fond of her, if she's been kept round for a while.
I think you've got too much to lose personally, and so has she. Potentially you could lose your own flexi time arrangement, your colleagues trust (sounds crude - but no one likes a grass in an office context), if she can prove otherwise, or has some gripes about you, you could find the situation reversed onto you. What exactly do you get out of it? How exactly are you going about monitoring this 50 mins? Why are you overly bothered? She could have 10 mins lunch one day, and 40 mins the next.
If you have a relatively happy office atmosphere and a good relationship with her, I'd let this go, I can't see there being any winners coming from it, neither you or her.
The hassling you for the IT stuff- treat as a separate issue- give her set times she can talk to you.

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:54:19

that last part should have been a strike through grin

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:53:56

nope not office bound. I think I say very early on we are in and out of the office all day so no one is ever really aware of what hours people are actually doing but we are expected to start and end the day at the office. As myself and my colleague are supposed to start and end at the same time (before and after everyone else) I know that she isn't.

On top of my actual role I also do a lot of assessing of people who are training to qualify in our profession (they do placements with me/the team) which is why I often have people with me in the car -and bring me snacks and refill my water jug--

BeanJuice Sat 26-Jan-13 22:50:50

I can't believe MN sometimes - there are always the sanctimonious ones going "we shouldn't judge" or "none of your business" blah blah blah. Gets annoying.

YANBU OP

Jux Sat 26-Jan-13 22:48:07

Yes to this ^^, it was what I was going to suggest. Or actually, to tell her/email her that the time at which you are available to help her with the technical is - as agreed with boss - during the extra time, but that during normal working hours you have your normal workload to deal with.

Then it's up to her.

And for the record I am contracted to work 37 (or might be 37.5h) per week, bog standard office hours, Monday to Friday. My boss has made it clear that as long as I get the work done and she can contact me in normal work hours, she doesn't care when I clock on or clock off. But if I arranged to, say, compress my full time hours into 4 days I'd damn well do it, not do my normal four days and screw them for the rest.

And for the record I am contracted to work 37 (or might be 37.5h) per week, bog standard office hours, Monday to Friday. My boss has made it clear that as long as I get the work done and she can contact me in normal work hours, she doesn't care when I clock on or clock off. But if I arranged to, say, compress my full time hours into 4 days I'd damn well do it, not do my normal four days and screw them for the rest.

I work full time, 3 days from home. I think if I did a 9 day fortnight I'd get away with it performance wise. My reduced performance would be noted but they'd struggle to argue I wasn't good enough. So I'm going to have every other Friday in bed from now on. Nice one.

No lopopo. Would you use the same arguments (normal office behaviour which is accounted for) for someone who was contracted to work ten days a fortnight but just didn't bother working one of them?

lopopo Sat 26-Jan-13 22:18:48

OP, it's not a case of "passing" it's a case of being aware that all your own behaviour and performance will be scrutinised by your manager and your colleague. She will know you've complained about her and don't kid yourself she won't retaliate about your own perceived shortcomings...

I 'm slightly confused by your "can't sit in a car with someone and not talk" comment. So this isn't an office bound job? How do you know so much about your colleague's work habits and this "50 mins" she failing to work?

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:06:17

Lopopo

So OP, can I ask, do you ever make personal calls during work time? noDo you ever make a hot drink? no I have a jug of water i fill up at the start of the day Eat a snack? no Do you ever during your compressed time chat to a colleague about non related work things yes, the office would be pretty dreadful if we didn't - plus you can't really sit in a car with someone and not talk Do you ever browse the Internet for something not related to your work? absolutely not i would be disciplined Have you taken any sick leave / compassionate leave in the last 12 months? no Have you come in late or left early in the last six months? i've come in early and left late if that counts? How is your performance? fine thank you, but as I say it is not a performance based role Do you feel you work through an equivalent work load to your colleagues working 10 days yes?

is that everything? Did I pass?

Saying that all of the above is fairly normal office behaviour that bar one or two points all of my colleagues including the one that is the subject of this do. The colleague does all of these things as well as taking the extra time off.

Mumsyblouse
it isn't due to ill health she has a specific work project that can sporadically and unexpectedly take a lot of her time and she needs to be able to drop everything else when needed. Because of this she can only be given work that can be dropped if needed.

cuillereasoupe I suppose technically we choose to do the extra hours - no one is making us. We do it because otherwise we wouldn't be good at our jobs. I understand what you are saying and sometimes we all agree to 'work to rule' but it never lasts long.

I'm not 'monitoring' my colleague, I just know she isn't there when she is supposed to be there because its when I am there.

Sigh. What can of worms have I opened!

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 26-Jan-13 21:42:07

Sorry if this has already been suggested but I think in your position I would email her, CCing your manager, and say that while you want to ensure she has enough of your time for technical help she needs, you need to be able to focus on other things during the work day. So, from now on, you will block 15 or 30 minutes for her at the start and end of each working day e.g. 9.00-9.15 and 4.45-5.00.

This will effectively force her to put the full day in if she relies on your help with incredibly basic technical things that she should be able to do by herself and will also get your manager into the habit of noticing if she's arriving late/leaving early. And it will minimise the impact her behaviour has on your workload because if she isn't there for your IT office hours, you are free to ignore her requests for help the rest of the time.

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 21:26:53

I get that the nature of the job means you sometimes have to go overtime, OP.

its just nobody takes it because none of us have time

I'm beginning to feel like a militant unionist here, but why isn't this a bigger issue than your colleague taking the piss?

lopopo Sat 26-Jan-13 21:21:35

So OP, can I ask, do you ever make personal calls during work time? Do you ever make a hot drink? Eat a snack? Do you ever during your compressed time chat to a colleague about non related work things? Do you ever browse the Internet for something not related to your work? Have you taken any sick leave / compassionate leave in the last 12 months? Have you come in late or left early in the last six months? How is your performance? Do you feel you work through an equivalent work load to your colleagues working 10 days? Do you feel you have the same level of expertise as your colleagues and are therefore working as efficiently as them covering the same workload?

I think if you rock the boat over this 50 min shortening of both your days you need to make sure you can give the right answer to all of the above plus everything else deemed important in your workplace. Also make sure she has nothing to complain about you...

Mumsyblouse Sat 26-Jan-13 20:42:45

SPB they are not in the army, they are public sector professionals who (in my experience) are not required to monitor their colleagues workloads, they usually have several layers of management for thatsmile

The other thing that no-one has picked up on is that the OP said that this colleague is already on reduced workload for historic reasons (I'm guessing ill-health) and so has less to do than the others which is why she manages it within the reduced hours she works. If the manager was concerned about the workload/time issue, they could simply increase her workload to that of the other staff. Management already know she is not working as much as is optimal (and maybe these reasons are exactly why they are not pursuing it), but clearly value her enough not to let her go.

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