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To think my colleague is BU r.e. 'working from home'?

(186 Posts)
TheOtherSideOfNo Fri 11-Dec-15 15:19:11

I really need some sort of perspective with this.

This past year my workplace has introduced very flexible working for my particular team. In that we can work remotely or from home or basically wherever there is an internet connection.

This means that sometimes a couple of colleagues will set of to a coffee shop to work or stay at home, indeed, it means some colleagues arrive around 10ish but will leave later etc. This move was not easily given to us, we had to state our case for this sort of arrangement and indeed it has proven to be very effective so much so that management are considering applying the same to another team.

Now my AIBU. In my team there are 5 of us. All the same level and grade and do similar things that are complementary to each other's work. One of the team will e-mail in the morning saying she's "working from home" this is fine but she's never there if you call her on her work phone or e-mail her in business hours. I don't expect a response to an e-mail immediately but she really is taking the piss. She hasn't updated accounts or done her role at all. We're all picking up the slack. She will respond to an e-mail very late in the day and considering our work is very deadline focused we can't afford to have her 'chillaxing' on the job.

As I said, I'm the same level as her so can't really pull her up on this and I don't want to go running to management as the snitch iyswim but she's jeopardising certain projects and targets.

Nataleejah Fri 11-Dec-15 15:25:36

If she does not complete the tasks assigned to her, she's not working. Can you and other teammates have a stern word with her before going to management?

OurBlanche Fri 11-Dec-15 15:28:05

But you must advise your line manager, or you too will be jeopardising those projects and targets.

You work as a team, you fail as a team and she is not pulling her weight. Tell your line manager, specific examples of work not being completed or your having had to do her work in order to meet a deadline. Not your opinion, just the facts.

It's really hard, but it is of her doing, do not let her actions ruin your employment.

ImperialBlether Fri 11-Dec-15 15:29:44

Maybe there should be a policy of replying to emails within a set period of time if you're working from home, or always being available on the landline? It's so obvious that some people will take advantage of it and do their shopping or get their hair done.

SquinkiesRule Fri 11-Dec-15 15:30:31

Stop covering for her and picking up her slack.
Ds got a new job last summer it's also flexi and can be done from home, he goes in as he gets more done. After a few months they told him he's getting more done a week than she did in a month. Turns out she was doing everything but work at home and taking the piss.

LisaD1 Fri 11-Dec-15 15:32:04

If she is working from home, she needs to be as available as she would be when in the office. I wfh a lot, I am at home working, exactly the same service is provided as when I am in the office.

I would speak to management. People like this colleague can ruin it for everyone else.

SevenOfNineTrue Fri 11-Dec-15 15:35:32

Do you have a whistle blowing policy or route? Might be worth looking into.

ZenNudist Fri 11-Dec-15 15:40:41

If you're not her line manager just report that you're not happy having to pick to the slack from colleagues not doing their jobs. Cute specific examples. Restate that you very much like the option if working from home and don't want to see if be taken away due to abuses.

TheOtherSideOfNo Fri 11-Dec-15 15:40:48

Nataleejah The team members and I have tried speaking to her. She improved for all of 2 weeks but then slowly and incrementally she went back to her previous ways. I honestly have no idea what she is doing in working hours but she certainly isn't working! We have a sort of online portal thing in which we exchange messages and it tells you who's online or on a break or whatever and I can honestly tell you this whole week she's been 'offline' from 9-6. I have taken screenshots every day in the event I have to raise this further but I don't want to.

TheOtherSideOfNo Fri 11-Dec-15 15:42:29

ZenNudist That is exactly my fear that management will deem this a failure and get us all in the office everyday from 9am sharp.

NoSquirrels Fri 11-Dec-15 15:44:57

I think you probably do need to, though.

If there is evidence she's not online doing what she's supposed to, then that's that. Raise it with her again and point out that there's evidence she's not pulling her weight, and that it will be noticed.

I work from home. I have set office hours, I am available on email in those hours and on the phone. I also work some hours ad-hoc, but when I am "in the office" I am working and available.

HumphreyCobblers Fri 11-Dec-15 15:45:29

I think you have to raise it.

Dancergirl Fri 11-Dec-15 15:45:40

That's not on at all. When dh works from home, he works. Phone diverted so he gets all his calls and he responds to emails just as he would as if in the office.

DragonsCanHop Fri 11-Dec-15 15:45:53

Stop picking up her slack. Finish a project as much as you can and tell your line manager x y z isn't finished because wfh person has finished it. Do that for a month and your manager should get what's going on.

mumofsnotbags Fri 11-Dec-15 15:50:51

I have received a warning for this in the past worked from home and had the phone diverted to me but answered the door to get rid of the local counsellor begging for my vote. I missed an important call and lost the company money.

Can understand i now but at the time it seemed so unfair. If your all in the same situation and 1 person isn't pulling their weight then its not fair to the team. can you possibly chat to another member of your them to gauge their opinion, Im sure they will have noticed the same things you have and think mentioning it to a line manager is the way to go. even putting it as could you possibly introduce a time limit to reply to all emails/ calls etc to ensure we all continue to work effectively as a team together.

IWasHereBeforeTheHack Fri 11-Dec-15 15:55:17

Could you and the rest of the team bring this up with her again, maybe in a supportive way. Raise your concerns that she appears less productive than she used to be in the office and her her how do you find WFH, is everything OK at home, do you get peace to work? Perhaps you could suggest the team needs a bit more structure round communicating with each other, such as several points in the day when you commit to speak/message each other or something to ensure good handovers and keep misunderstandings to a minimum. I see no harm in using it as an opportunity to remind each other about the struggle to get this in place and the importance of making it work for the team so that management don't have second thoughts about the arrangements.

If that doesn't work then I recommend approaching your manager as a team. I would not volunteer that you have taken screenshots, you could be on dodgy ground; but it gives you confidence that you know she's slacking. You can hint, and your manager can presumably ask IT to provide logs as evidence if they wish.

TheOtherSideOfNo Fri 11-Dec-15 15:57:12

DragonsCanHop That's not really an option as much as I'd like it to be. Our work is very client focused along with deadlines so if we just took a sort of blaze attitude that X hasn't done this therefore we let it slip then the whole team would suffer and we'd lose clients as a result.

She knows that we'll all pick up the slack because we don't want to lose the company any money and we need to meet our deadlines. She's taking the piss to extraordinary levels because as of a few months ago, the rest of the team and I had a meeting to organise who would do what and when (her work). She obviously wasn't there but I honestly felt like stabbing someone because here we were discussing how to do her work in her absence.

OurBlanche Fri 11-Dec-15 16:01:58

Then you have all made yourself complicit in her deception.

Tell your line manager, before they find out and decide you are all to blame for covering this up!

grundrisse Fri 11-Dec-15 16:02:51

Can you speak to her directly but outside of the moment? She may not even be aware that she's dropping the ball so obviously (and there might be other reasons - a really sick child, a sick parent - she ought to have told your line manager about this, but maybe she hasn't!).

Something like 'Hey X, I love it when we're working on stuff together, but did you know that sometimes you don't answer your email or phone for ages and I don't get a chance to finish my job, because I need your input?' And then wait for her to respond. She might say 'Oh yeah, I'm so sorry, it's been a problem because of X' or 'Gosh I had no idea, I'm sorry'. But at least you've got it out in the open in a non-confrontational way.

Then you can ask 'What can I do to help you make sure this doesn't happen again?' And let her suggest something - she might well say 'Oh, don't worry, I'll make sure I answer everything within 20 minutes in future'.

Then if it happens again, you can let her know straight away - 'You know we talked about you not being available? Well, it happened this afternoon. What can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again? Because it's really jeopardizing the team's targets and goals, and if you don't do something, I'm going to need to talk to our manager because it's affecting my work. But I really don't want to do that, so help me fix this'.

I had a colleague who had a pathological need to push all limits, all of the time. It's like if there was a rule there, she'd have to break it almost to challenge you to do something. This really worked with her because it clarified all of the expectations I had and made it clear there'd be consequences if the problem continued.

I should add, I'm not good at assertiveness, so other people may have much better ideas. smile

ilovesooty Fri 11-Dec-15 16:04:05

I don't think you have any other option nut to take this to management - sorry.

ilovesooty Fri 11-Dec-15 16:06:26

I think OurBlanche is spot on. Report it and cover your own back. Working from home and not doing any work is surely grounds for disciplinary action.

Rafflesway Fri 11-Dec-15 16:07:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snoopadoop Fri 11-Dec-15 16:08:18

This is why in my experience a working from home policy doesn't work. Someone always takes the piss.

I have a colleague who is allowed to work from home once a week. She commented that it was great and really helped with the childcare costs. She has a 3 year old and a 16 month old. We addressed this with our boss and questioned how she could work a 7.5 hour day with 2 small children at home and my boss said he has to trust she is working, despite her inability to reply to emails and rarely pick up her phone when working from home.

ClarkL Fri 11-Dec-15 16:13:32

I think if you don't go to management and it goes on undetected for too long they will then decide that flexible working isn't working as it cant be monitored. If there is clear evidence that someone is or isn't working there is no reason to think the privilege will be stopped for everyone - but they need to manage her appropriately. When I took redundancy I was made to work 3 months notice, I turned up, cant say I did a lot - I was amazed how easy it was to be in the office but not actually working.
The issue here isn't around the flexible working, its around how management can monitor and address staff issues when you keep covering for the other staff member.

Marynary Fri 11-Dec-15 16:15:56

It's a difficult situation but I would only report to the management as a last resort. If they feel that one of you isn't working they are likely to flexible home working altogether.

Normally home working works well in a deadline driven job as it isn't usually possible to slack off even if you want to. You and your colleagues need to convince her that you can't/won't pick up her slack anymore so that if she doesn't start pulling her weight there will be no more flexible working.

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