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(61 Posts)
brieislife Fri 20-Apr-18 11:12:15

So, for context, I work in admin. Not the very lowest rung of the ladder but not high up. Nobody reports to me. I earn less than the average wage. When I accepted the job I asked about working from home and was told it would be ok as an occasional thing. I have a laptop so can do this and have done a handful of times.

I work near Leeds. We have an office near Heathrow (about a 4 hour drive, if traffic's ok) and there's a conference there that I have to go to in May. It's on a Thursday and is expected to run from 9-5.30. Work are putting those of us coming from Leeds up in a hotel the night before. We would be leaving work at 2-ish on the preceding day to drive down, getting to the hotel at about 6, all being well. My normal working hours are 9-5.30.

I asked my (fairly new) manager if I could work from home the following day as I would likely not be getting home until 10ish & it would be nice to not have to be up early the following day to commute. This was refused with my manager basically saying he had worked most of the previous Sunday and there was a need to work a few additional hours occasionally for the sake of the business. Regardless of the fact I wasn't asking for time off, just to work my normal hours from home. Or that he is significantly senior to me (director level) and as such both his responsibilities and salary are much higher than mine. The tone of his email was disapproving & seemed to suggest I was cheeky for asking.

Then today he sends me a meeting invite for a (fairly unimportant) conference call with him, me and a customer. Just a catch up kind of call. To take place on the day before the meeting between 2.30 and 3.30. Meaning I won't get to leave the office until nearer 4, and won't get to the hotel til around 8.

Would I be unreasonable to ask him if there's any chance of rescheduling? I get the feeling it won't go down too well, but it seems that he's expecting me to work the kind of hours and be as flexible as someone much more senior and more highly paid than I am.

As a one off I wouldn't mind too much but with him being fairly new to the company, and clearly keen to make his mark, I'd rather not just accept this without protest as it could become the norm.

What would you do?

araiwa Fri 20-Apr-18 11:18:49

Decline the meeting request as you wont be there confused

brieislife Fri 20-Apr-18 11:19:55

Sorry, should have said, my manager is also going to the conference so knows full I was planning to travel down that afternoon as he would have been too.

SD1978 Fri 20-Apr-18 11:24:35

8 isn’t late to get to the hotel, and he will be doing the same. I personally wouldn’t ask.

DobbyisFREE Fri 20-Apr-18 11:29:10

Decline the meeting request as you wont be there

Agreed, I've done this many times. I'd book it out in your calendar as well for these kinds of situations. Does he know that you're all leaving early? Maybe he has a big problem with this which is causing his rudeness.

I'd probably reply to his cheeky email as well clarifying that you weren't requesting time off but you understand that this won't be possible.

He's an arse but you must remain professional and start considering other roles. A bad manager can really ruin a working environment.

TawnyPort Fri 20-Apr-18 11:30:48

I wouldn't ask, I'd tell. Just as a reminded: obviously I can't attend that meeting, as you know I will be en route to X place at that time.

Neverender Fri 20-Apr-18 11:32:31

How long have you been there? I always start as I mean to go on. If you've been there a while and never WFH he might have forgotten what he said at interview. I'm stubborn so I've book the day off afterwards just because I could!

DPotter Fri 20-Apr-18 11:37:43

I know what you mean - have been in a similar position. New senior manager thought I was at a higher grade than I was and was asking me to do all sorts of stuff, without reference to my boss. It was a touchy point as well as I had requested a grading review which had been denied.
I asked my line manager to have a word, which resolved the problem.

Having said that - I would not expect to include travelling time to a conference as part of work time and getting home at 10pm isn't late. 3am is late. So I think it was a bit off to ask to work from home as you would be getting home late.

You could fight with fire by asking for a grading review - there's a chance he doesn't realise your more junior status.

brieislife Fri 20-Apr-18 11:42:26

Hindsight is a wonderful thing - I wish I had put it into my calendar.

It's the norm within the company to leave early if driving down to the other office. People aren't generally expected to spend all their evening driving. If he has a problem with this he needs to take it up with the CEO as it's the done thing (& I think totally reasonable, bearing in mind traffic on the M1 or M25 can turn a 4 hour journey into an 8 hour one very easily).

I've been with the company 4.5 years but in this role for one year. My manager started in October last year, it was my previous manager who agreed to the working from home, but that was a fairly large part of me agreeing to accepting the job move.

I think the ship has sailed regarding replying to the working from home email - that exchange was about a month ago. I had considered booking it as leave though. Might give that some more thought.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 20-Apr-18 11:42:34

Is it booked out as travel time in your calendar?

Seniorcitizen1 Fri 20-Apr-18 14:23:22

YABU - some times we all have to do that bit extra. You wouldn’t be working for me with this attitude

brieislife Fri 20-Apr-18 14:32:51

Senior - what attitude is that?

- Asking politely to work from home for one day when there's precedent that this is possible on occasion?
- Being willing to spend 4.5 hours of my own time driving back from a work conference.
- Considering asking (again politely) to reschedule a meeting if possible to avoid having to drive into the evening if it isn't necessary?

I'm not sure what you expect from your non-senior staff but I can tell you it's too much!

DobbyisFREE Fri 20-Apr-18 14:39:21

I'm not sure what you expect from your non-senior staff but I can tell you it's too much!

Business owners increasingly expect the earth from the people they pay the least.

RedPanda2 Fri 20-Apr-18 14:48:40

If I have to go away for work, my working time starts anytime after my normal commute. If I am travelling away from my normal office believe me I will be getting paid for it or TOIL.

I think he is trying to make his mark-they all do it. Have a meeting with him and discuss WFH. Decline the invite as you will be travelling!

Seniorcitizen1 Fri 20-Apr-18 16:09:29

Dobbies - yes I do expect a lot of my staff. Each earns at least twice the average wage (so inexcess of £50k) and usually, depending on profits, a bonus of between 15-20% os salary. For that I would not expect someone to moan about working office hours even after travelling home late from London

brieislife Fri 20-Apr-18 16:34:54

Senior - there's a general consensus that as salary increases so does the expectation that an employee will be willing to go above and beyond. Your staff are paid well in the knowledge that they will have to be flexible with their working hours etc. Which is perfectly reasonable.

However I went into such detail in my original post to stress that I'm not paid particularly highly (currently 24k) nor am in senior within my company. So what you expect of your staff isn't really comparable. If you'd expect the same level of flexibility and commitment from your staff if they were paid less than half their current salaries then that wouldn't be reasonable.

SadTrombone Fri 20-Apr-18 17:27:35

@Seniorcitizen1 I'm sure the OP is very grateful for your (completely irrelevant) contribution to the thread, and even more grateful that she doesn't work for you!

Seniorcitizen1 Fri 20-Apr-18 17:28:06

The willingness to be flexible, go the extra mile etc comes first, then the higher salary, not the otherway round. If you are not preaped to do this then you wont earn much more than £24k

JakeBallardswife Fri 20-Apr-18 17:36:15

She hasn’t said she won’t go the extra mile but similarly wanted some flexibility

SadTrombone Fri 20-Apr-18 17:39:12

There's willingness to be flexible (which, in my opinion and experience, needs to go both ways) and then there's willingness to be shat on from a great height.

Queenio24 Fri 20-Apr-18 17:47:38

I don't think your travel time is too bad, I'm doing the exact same thing in may - leave office at 4 ish (after a full day) travel to London and arrive about 7.30. Then arrive home at 9pm ish the next day. I have to be in the office at 8am the following day too. I think the WFH the day after was a bit cheeky if it's not a regular occurrence or there isn't a culture of doing that.
However if you've already arranged your travel time to leave at 2 I would politely decline the meeting saying you are travelling at that time.

ScreamingValenta Fri 20-Apr-18 17:49:48

go the extra mile etc comes first, then the higher salary, not the otherway round. If you are not preaped to do this then you wont earn much more than £24k

OP hasn't said she wants to earn more than £24k.

Queenio24 Fri 20-Apr-18 17:50:46

go the extra mile etc comes first, then the higher salary, not the otherway round. If you are not preaped to do this then you wont earn much more than £24k

True, unfortunately

purplelila2 Fri 20-Apr-18 17:53:14

I agree I think the WFH thing is a little bit cheeky too.

ScreamingValenta Fri 20-Apr-18 17:57:34

I think the WFH was a reasonable request. Declining it would also be reasonable if there was a business need for OP to be present in the office, but it shouldn't have been declined on principle.

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