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Can I ask for your help in drawing new boundaries with work?

(39 Posts)
MiddleOfChaos Sat 09-May-15 19:53:38

I work four days a week and pretty much every evening to achieve fulltime hours. I am really flexible, go above and beyond for my work and try my upmost. It is a job that I love and with people I really like. Today I've had two emails from people at work, one where some one has decided they want part of a report redrafted before it gets sent to the publishers on Monday morning at 9.30am, another saying they want a progress report for a project for a meeting at 10am on Monday. I'd not mind if I'd been slack but I asked the sender of email (a) to sign off the report over a week ago to give me chance for any last minute edits and sender (b) if they wanted a progress report on project x last Monday they said no they will verbal update - now they've changed their mind.

I know I've probably created some of this by always trying to support them (should add none of these are my bosses - we are all equal and relatively senior!). Plus I take a day off in the week to be with my children, with the idea I make this up in evenings which I do and some during the week - I try and keep weekends for myself and family. when I challenged this before I have the comments of but you have to flexible etc, we're in the office all week - so I understand they don't like the arrangement I have - however equally they could do it too if they wished, it is an option available to all of us. I need to remind them of my working arrangement but hate conflict and need some help in drawing boundaries round this again!! Also I think they are taking the p* when I specifically asked about these things during the week!!

Oldraver Sat 09-May-15 19:58:28

Email them you you work full time hours between Monday to Friday ONLY

AlternativeTentacles Sat 09-May-15 20:02:27

Reply to both that you will look at these two when you are in at 9 oclock on Monday, but you can't promise anything on either as that gives you 30 mins on each and even at your superhero speed, that's pushing it.

Put actual times that you work [day and evening] to make up your day in your email signature.

'Please note I work Mon-Thurs, 9-4 and 6-8pm. If you need assistance outside of these hours, please contact x or I will contact you upon my return.'

slightlyeggstained Sat 09-May-15 20:03:01

I think Employment Issues would probably get you more helpful responses than AIBU. It's not really about reasonable, it's about figuring out how you establish boundaries having previously let people walk all over you - not really AIBU's strength.

If you asked about both these things during the week, then I'd suggest you just do not reply to anything right now. There is no reason why you should have made yourself available tonight when you've already checked there is no need.

thatstoast Sat 09-May-15 20:03:15

Do you get paid for full time hours?

I don't think it really matters whether you work 4 days or 5 in this instance. You gave colleague A a deadline for rewrites, they missed it. Colleague B said they didn't want a progress report. Poor planning on their part, really?

There was a report recently about how checking emails outside work and always being 'on' makes British workers more unproductive. I'm thinking of adopting some of recommendations into my work life.

PoshPenny Sat 09-May-15 20:03:24

Could you reply along the lines of ... Action packed big family weekend this weekend so regretfully not possible. This is why I asked at the beginning of the week if you had any amendments so there would be plenty of time to get them done. Bloody rude of them really. If it was that important they should have phoned to beg you, not send an email on the off chance. Can you make some oblique reference to them letting the side down?

mynewpassion Sat 09-May-15 20:11:29

Are the other staff clear about the times you work from home or when you are using flex time?

Staff B might have been informed that it needs to be a written report now instead of verbal one. Staff A --- their fault.

Thetruthshallmakeyefret Sat 09-May-15 20:12:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiddleOfChaos Sat 09-May-15 20:12:17

DH just pointed out that if we hadn't been out all today and I'd only picked the emails this evening, and knowing we have a family birthday tomorrow, then dinner out in the eve, I'd not have questioned it and just done it. As he just said I've allowed them to expect it from me, thus created my own problem and maybe they think my 'flexible' working includes weekends.

EBearhug Sat 09-May-15 20:14:01

Don't check work emails when you're not working; set your out of office message to give your working hours and if one exists, an alternative contact for urgent issues on the days you don't work.

Their poor planning is not your fault, and if you've got emails which show you requested any rewrites or reports and you didn't get feedback before the deadline, you're covered. The world will not fall apart, but they might stop taking you for granted.

MiddleOfChaos Sat 09-May-15 20:14:25

Thetruth we have a very flexible workplace culture - the focus is on getting the job done and doing what needs doing, but yes in quiet times we take it easier - I am actually feeling a bit unreasonable now. Starting the report now sigh

BlinkAndMiss Sat 09-May-15 20:17:19

As you work full time hours during the week only, I'd be inclined to ignore the emails that were sent and reply on Monday morning - I'm sure that expecting you to work on a weekend is not actually allowed if your working hours are during the week?

To accomplish a clear work/life balance you need to stop accessing your emails outside of your working hours. It should not be expected or if it is there is not a lot anyone can do about it if you don't. If you give in and do this work then your letting everyone know that you will just ignore your working hours and there is no point putting all that work in on an evening just to have your weekend taken up by work stress and aggravation.

Your colleagues need to realise that you are not available at any time just because you happen to have a day 'off' in the week, you don't owe any kind of apology for that.

redskybynight Sat 09-May-15 20:17:34

I think it depends a lot on what is expected in your job generally and what your colleagues do. You mention that you are quite senior - well quite often senior people work evenings and weekends as part of the territory, so if your colleagues are doing this anyway, I can see why they expect you to do the same.

mynewpassion Sat 09-May-15 20:19:25

It doesn't hurt remind people that you don't work weekends unless emergencies and strict deadlines. Staff A needs to be reminded that you submitted rreport for their review early last week. Staff B should provide sufficient warning when a verbal report was changed to a written one.

sleeplessbunny Sat 09-May-15 20:21:53

Just don't respond until 9am Monday, and then tell them it's too short notice. I take it you are not contracted to work saturdays? If you have finished your working week, then don't check your emails at the weekend.

From what you've said you are well organised, have evidence to show you are pulling your weight or more, so just don't do anything else. No apologies or explanations needed. (...sounds easy... wish I could follow my own advice)

FadedRed123 Sat 09-May-15 20:32:45

"I will be out of office until 9 am Monday XX of XXXXX.
My normal working hours are XXXXXX.
My contact number for extreme emergencies only is XXXXXX"
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine
smile

TiredButFine Sat 09-May-15 20:34:33

Ignoring the requests isn't very adult, but is tempting! Speak to each of them (yes not email!) about their actions and it's impact on you. There's a few issues whivh I think need separating
1) you work Mon-Thurs. They emailed on Sat. No one should be making requests on a Sat. Presumably if you were in on Fri that would have made no difference so this isn't about your work pattern
2) why are they working on sat?
3) you've spent a few hours on Sat doing the work, you'd like to leave early one day in exchange as you have personal stuff to complete (er not working!)
4) you gave reasonable notice of your work plan, what happened that meant they had to contact you on sat (there may be an actual reason like something kicked off with the boss late Fri or something) if not, they need to organise themselves better

minipie Sat 09-May-15 20:48:49

Do you work in a job where weekend working is normal and expected for full time employees?

If the answer is yes then in theory you should expect to do some work at weekends. You've negotiated a day off during the week, but that doesn't mean an exemption from the occasional weekend work (IF, as I say above, that is normal for your job).

However - on this occasion I think you'd be fully entitled to say no anyway. Not because your hours are X to Y (some jobs don't work like that) but because you specifically asked for comments earlier.

I'd reply on Sunday evening saying something like what PoshPenny suggests: "Oh sorry, just saw this, I've been really busy all weekend and thought you had no comments. I'll do what I can tomorrow morning but may not be able to get very far."

AlternativeTentacles Sat 09-May-15 21:08:28

Starting the report now sigh

More fool you!

pluCaChange Sat 09-May-15 21:19:01

Ping them back the emails about when the things had to be done. You've already created this paper trail: use it!

In addition, as other posters have said, asking for something on a Saturday is the clincher. They've helped you with the paper trail for that point, too! wink

Mistigri Sat 09-May-15 22:02:36

The more you say yes to unreasonable requests, the more unreasonable the requests will be in future.

In this situation, unless there was a serious inaccuracy in the report, I'd say no to last minute changes in the grounds that the deadline has come and gone. And the second request is just a simple no.

It sounds as if you need to avoid work email at weekends tbh. I do tend to check but would only bother actually responding to something if it had been flagged high priority, the rest gets dealt with on Monday morning.

Seriouslyffs Sat 09-May-15 22:29:02

Unpopular question, but how much do you earn? Anything above I don't know 40/50k? and random availability is the norm.

Mintyy Sat 09-May-15 22:34:29

Yes! Who the hell is actually expected to work on a Saturday or Sunday anyway except the self employed, people on shifts or contracts, or the self-deluded workaholics who think that work will collapse without them.

What would happen to you and your job op if you just replied "it is the weekend. why are you emailing me?"

reynoldsnumber Sat 09-May-15 22:42:32

Not sure how I would feel about your 'deal' if I was one of your ft co-workers as you are all being paid the same. Do they never work weekends or evenings? If so I can understand you being cross.

I work in the evenings and at weekends for no extra pay when things need to get done and I'm only paid 4 days a week. I often work close to full time hours but am only in the office for 4 days not 5. But my colleagues on ft contracts often work an extra day each week too. I think as you get more senior (as I guess you are?) this becomes more common.

WineIsMyMainVice Sat 09-May-15 22:46:29

Exactly as Bearhug said it. You shouldn't check work emails at the weekend - then you wouldn't have seen it until Monday morning when it's too late!
I went from full time to half time at my work - and it takes a long long time for people to realise that you don't work 5 days any more!! They still expect the same output from you. (I know in your case you have not reduced workload, just working days, but it's the same principal.) You almost have to train other people to know what to expect of you or not.
Good luck!

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