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AIBU about work saying they are 'short staffed'?

(46 Posts)
Xuli Wed 22-Nov-17 13:35:04

Possibly being too sensitive about this...

I've recently returned after maternity leave and I am doing a 4 day week. This was happily agreed by the (large) firm and by my department's manager. I suspect my small department is unhappy about it though. We were busy even before I went on maternity leave and there had been a hope that the department could keep my maternity cover and my p/t hours would become the 'extra' member of staff we needed (my manager didn't probe for details before I went on mat leave but as it was DC2 there was a sort of understanding that I was unlikely to come back full time straight away).

I get that this causes staffing issues for the department and I'm really sympathetic. As it is I'm starting to understand why people say that 4 days a week is just 5 days a week on less pay grin I try my best to help, I often work during my commute, keep an eye on my emails on my non-working day, and don't really take much of a lunch break.

However my direct colleagues often make comments about how busy they are (very true) and say things like, "of course, it's even worse on X [the day I don't work] day". Our workload is hard to plan as we respond to requests coming in, which doesn't help. Because of how we work, most work related emails are cc'd to the whole department. Every time I read my emails after my non-working day, it's full of comments to our clients that we might not be able to hit their deadline because the department is "short staffed today".

It's starting to annoy me now. Which is where I am probably being U. I know they are technically short staffed but... they did agree to this working pattern, it's a very common working pattern in the firm as a whole, we just haven't had someone do it in this department - I'm the only parent in the whole team. So after 2 months its just starting to feel like a bit of a dig at me. It's not like I've had a last minute annual leave day or anything, I will never be working that day. AIBU and oversensitive about it?

Splinterz Wed 22-Nov-17 13:38:30

I think a lot of maternity returners who choose to go PT wil agree with me, you end up doing a full time job in less hours. I really just don't seethe point of all the aggro of (a) arranging it (b) justifying it (c) collegues habitual misery and sniping about it (d) absolutely shooting your career in the foot

museumum Wed 22-Nov-17 13:40:26

If I was your client receiving those emails I’d be telling you to sort your resourcing out ASAP! It sounds bad to me to tell clients you basically can’t nsnage your own staff resource.
How short are you as a dept? Can you do a report and justify recruiting a pt person?

Anatidae Wed 22-Nov-17 13:41:52

The problem is not you being part time. The problem is your employer short staffing.

You need to be polite but direct and cut these kinds of comments off.

“I don’t work Fridays. Management have know about this since x. It’s their job to provide appropriate staffing levels, not your or my job to increase our workload.
If you’re struggling to keep up with what’s coming in then we need to speak to management about hiring someone to cover Fridays too.”

This is just shit management, but it’s been deflected onto you.

ButchyRestingFace Wed 22-Nov-17 13:43:19

I take the PP’s point but what form of words would you prefer they used?

Anatidae Wed 22-Nov-17 13:44:39

And also very poor of them to send emails like that to clients.

Nothing will change if everyone keeps doing extra to cover it - management don’t give a toss about your happiness, your mental health or that of your team mates. If the work is being done they have no incentive to change.

Stop working extra.
Start escalating to management EVERY time: ‘x in danger of being left unfinished. More resource needed. ‘

Xuli Wed 22-Nov-17 13:49:27

Yes it's a resourcing issue. Unfortunately despite attempts to make it clear we have this issue, it doesn't look like it will be solved in the near future.

This is just shit management, but it’s been deflected onto you - yes, that's it, that's probably why it is pissing me off. I think my colleagues were all hoping my return would make things better, but I am only .8 hours and I also have another new role which is taking up a lot of time, so it's not been the magical return they hoped for. Hence why my hours/days is an easy focus for them..

Splinterz, tell me about it... I'm very happy with my hours, though I am doing over those hours. Very good firm and I want to stay long term so I'm alright with doing extra here and there. But it's seriously a full-time job in part-time hours!

No idea what words they should use instead. Or maybe they just shouldn't mention. All part and parcel of the whole team/department needing a good review of our workload and a plan of action, which isn't happening.

Xuli Wed 22-Nov-17 13:50:23

Anatidae, definitely, I agree, but there's only so much I can do about it as its other people sending those messages. It's so frustrating.

viques Wed 22-Nov-17 14:04:24

the thing is, your work colleagues were not asked about your reduced hours, that was an agreement between you and management. But it is your colleagues who are picking up the slack of the missing day, hence their resentment. And it is not your fault, you asked for pt and it was granted. The fault lies with poor management and the demand for a solution should be laid at their door as well.

MonkeyJumping Wed 22-Nov-17 14:11:20

Tbh I think it's reasonable for your colleagues to tell clients they are short staffed. Ultimately this is a management problem, but the only way management are likely to care is if the clients start expressing concerns or complaining that things are taking too long because the department is short staffed. Can you see it as your colleagues just trying to influence management (via clients) rather than seeing it as a dig/criticism of you?

Xuli Wed 22-Nov-17 14:17:38

If they were directing the comments at management I wouldn't mind. I really do see the problem - it affects me too. But it's a sort of background whingeing at the moment.

Yes, the bigger issue really is that the firm - quite large, makes a big deal out of its family friendly policies etc - said an immediate yes to my reduced hours, whereas it doesn't really help our department at all. So we're all caught in the middle, colleagues busier, me being slightly disliked for reduced hours. Which is ironic as I currently work more hours than most of the other women/mums in my DC's class and get comments from them about how many hours I work - feel like I'm not winning on either side at the moment grin Suspect that is the case for most p/t working parents though!

Maybe I need to find a way to prod colleagues to making a proper statement/complaint about our workload, rather then just whingeing about it. Not sure how though!

SleepingStandingUp Wed 22-Nov-17 14:22:36

Next time someone makes a PA comment out loud or on an internal email, tackle it directly and point out manangmenet agreed so if they aren't happy, that's who to talk to.

Floellabumbags Wed 22-Nov-17 14:27:39

I'd be so tempted to tell them you're thinking of going down to three days👹

MonkeyJumping Wed 22-Nov-17 14:29:12

Ok, but are people not allowed to vent or whinge a bit if their workload has increased? Are they actually having a go at you or just moaning about work like everybody does?

Bibidy Wed 22-Nov-17 14:29:24

I don't think you should necessarily take it as a dig at you.

It's management's responsibility to ensure they've got adequate resources, not yours. You colleagues are probably annoyed at the situation rather than trying to dig at you. You've done nothing wrong at all.

Eltonjohnssyrup Wed 22-Nov-17 14:33:09

Hang on, your other new role, is that in addition to the job you're doing? Are the hours separate or included in the .8 hours?

Xuli Wed 22-Nov-17 14:36:46

The new role is part of my hours, in theory I should be doing half my old role and half my new role, but that's not working out and I'm mainly doing my old role.

They are allowed to have a whinge. I guess that was my question, am I just taking it too personally because working p/t is new to me too, so I'm more sensitive about comments relating to it? I probably am.

Floella grin grin

MargaretCavendish Wed 22-Nov-17 14:42:43

Every time I read my emails after my non-working day, it's full of comments to our clients that we might not be able to hit their deadline because the department is "short staffed today".

This is incredibly unprofessional and has to stop. Unless you have a huge client list who email very rarely, they're going to notice that it's every Wednesday (or whatever), and trying to make it sound like a one-off thing just looks rubbish when it's not. They're not short-staffed - they have the number of staff they are contracted to have, but that's not enough to get the work done, which is completely different.

RagingFemininist Wed 22-Nov-17 14:44:41

Nope I dont think you are too sensitive.
If you leave that sort do things unchecked, it’s likely to come back to bite you, probably by them blaming you for any incoming disaster (you weren’t there, haven’t id e your job, whatever other reasons due to you not being present/not good enough).
And this will Be because they will grow more and more resentful of the situation and will have made you the person responsible for it. (Which is already the case)

TBH emails like this to a customer are shock and I think you need to go back to your boss and have a chat.
Explain the clear issue wth staffing on the d your not working as well as the fact you’re not doing the job you are supposed to do (the new job that is supposed to occupy you half of the time).
You really need a review with him and maybe HR too.

Eltonjohnssyrup Wed 22-Nov-17 14:51:55

How is your new role being funded? From the same place? Because if not they should be using the saving to get cover.

I don't think it's anything to do with you personally but rather it sounds like a very poor management decisions.

OKKOKIE Wed 22-Nov-17 14:56:17

stop reading your emails on your day off. Management chose the situation, your colleagues did not. Whether you regard it as your fault or not they are overworked on whatever day you are off because you are not there. I think their response is reasonable and manages client expectations, you are being over sensitive imo

Jaxhog Wed 22-Nov-17 15:01:31

It's poor management at work here. They knew you were coming back part-time, yet haven't made any arrangements to have sufficient resources. If people complain/moan about you only working PT, remind them that you only get PAID for 4 days. Not 5.

However, making comments to customers about 'being short staffed' is just plain unprofessional. I am very surprised that your boss hasn't nipped this in the bud. Is he/she cc'd in the comments? If not, you might want to mention it to them.

RhiannonOHara Wed 22-Nov-17 15:02:20

stop reading your emails on your day off.

This. For starters.

MargaretCavendish Wed 22-Nov-17 15:02:25

I think their response is reasonable and manages client expectations

I really disagree with this. If they keep saying this 20% of the time then it looks like a total excuse. If the truth is that the department can only turn things round in 48 hours, not 24, because it doesn't have the capacity then they need to say that, not keep claiming that they're 'short-staffed', which clearly implies an unforeseeable situation, like staff sickness.

ememem84 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:13:35

absolutely stop reading emails on your day off. this is step one. step 2, set up your out of office so it reminds everyone every time they send you an email that you don't work on whatever day it is and you will pick up on the next working day.

I'm currently on maternity leave (9 weeks in) and will be going back full time in May. I decided to go full time as a) financially we'd be better off, and i knew that if i was to go back part time i'd end up working full time anyway (whether i only worked mornings or reduced days a week).

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