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AIBU to expect civilised behaviour from my remote work colleagues?

(66 Posts)
Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 18:43:59

I work mostly from home and have a lot of online interaction with other international and remote workers. Aibu to expect them to respect the fact that they are ‘virtually’ in my own home and should therefore mind their manners? Especially when there are children in the house? I have an office in my home and I can shut the door - headphones are the obvious answer as far as the children are concerned, but do I really have to put up with unhinged language and behaviour?

Do others experience this as well?

Prequelle Wed 27-Feb-19 18:49:29

I think I would need examples of the 'unhinged behaviour'.

The children bit isn't relevant to me though, you're working and should be able to discuss matters than might not be fit for children's ears.

StillCoughingandLaughing Wed 27-Feb-19 18:50:30

You’re not inviting them into your home. You’re working from home. They’re not ‘virtually’ in your home; you have, presumably for your own convenience, based yourself there instead of in the office. If there are things you can’t do, or that you won’t accept your colleagues doing, because you’re at home, you shouldn’t WFH.

If their behaviour is genuinely ‘unhinged’, surely that wouldn’t be acceptable in the office either?

Isth Wed 27-Feb-19 18:51:22

Pretty much impossible to say without any sort of context, but using ‘theres children in the house’ would be ridiculously unprofessional. By all means, say you don’t appreciate the language/behaviour or you feel it’s not appropriate.

UtterlyUnimaginativeUsername Wed 27-Feb-19 18:55:06

They're not virtually in your home, you're virtually in the office. You shouldn't have children in your workplace.

sonjadog Wed 27-Feb-19 18:58:58

Depends on what the unhinged language and behaviour is. Would it be acceptable in a work environment with no children around? If so, then YABU. If it would be unacceptable anywhere, then YANBU.

Purpleartichoke Wed 27-Feb-19 19:15:58

I can’t think of any office appropriate behavior that isn’t also child appropriate.

There might be actual work related content that the children should not hear either because you work on sensitive matters or because of confidentiality issues. It’s your responsibility to make sure family members or bystanders do not overhear those kinds of matters.

Purpleartichoke Wed 27-Feb-19 19:18:25

I did once have to ask my colleagues to stop joking about setting off telecommuters alexa’s Because they were indeed setting off my Alexa over and over again since I have one on my work desk. We all found it quite funny.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:23:04

There is no office to go to - I would happy work from the office, but we are expected to work from home. I take the point that I am virtually in the office and should ensure that I am not overheard or children do not have to listen to bad behaviour.
Agreed - to point this out is unprofessional.
I still don’t like it and I am just not happy that there are no hard borders and I am expected to be available round the clock, I am probably just fed up with it all.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:25:25

I think this would be unacceptable anywhere and it is irrelevant if online or offline, it just makes it worse as dealing with bad behaviour online is more difficult. People just say they have to go and that’s it. Nothing I can do about it.

Etino Wed 27-Feb-19 19:26:03

Are you complaining about colleagues swearing? YABU I’m afraid, your children shouldn’t be within earshot.
If they’re saying things or using language you wouldn’t tolerate face to face, definitely bring it up.

LostInShoebiz Wed 27-Feb-19 19:26:41

You’re making two different points. It is unreasonable to expect you to be available around the clock. That, however, is entirely different from “unhinged” language and behaviour which makes you sound, well, unhinged.

Etino Wed 27-Feb-19 19:27:02

Ewww have to go as in using the loo when you’re talking?

spugzbunny Wed 27-Feb-19 19:29:16

Are people taking shits when you are on the phone to them? 😳

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 19:31:50

I thought you meant that their kids were being unhinged and behaving badly and you could hear it?

Need some examples.
I work from home a fair bit
The women and men on the team all have youngish kids
We're lucky that we can duck out to do school run if needed etc
I have zero issues with hearing an occasional child filtering over the meeting or whatever
I also personally don't mind swearing

If your workmates are swearing at you that is an HR issue, ditto them being unhinged?!

Obviously client calls / larger meetings then no kids and less swearing grin

I LIKE that our team is able to be human with each other, this feels like progress, when both men and women admit they have children then it makes womens lives easier > 10 years ago it was all men beign proud dads but never helping and women too scared to even mention kids!

Give us some examples of what you're actually talking about..

NataliaOsipova Wed 27-Feb-19 19:32:17

What kind of language and behaviour are we talking about?

OlennasWimple Wed 27-Feb-19 19:33:47

If they are being abusive, that's not Ok

If you are expected to be available all hours of the day and night, that's not OK

If you are expecting to be able to have kids at home and work full time, that's not OK

donquixotedelamancha Wed 27-Feb-19 19:41:27

Ooooohhhh. I love threads where you have to play 'respond to the OP with no information or context'. Hhhmmmmm...uncivilised behaviour? Here goes:

I think you are being a bit fussy about the chewing gum and you were wrong to tell her to shave her toes (although, no they shouldn't have been on the desk). YANBU to complain about her calling you a donkey r****g s**t eater- that was too far.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 19:43:18

Please report them for breaking wind loudly and saying "check that out!" to HR.

On the comedy duck quack device, it is best left til the end of calls.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 19:43:52

Tell them that you are not keen on messages being relayed in interpretative mime.

Especialyl over the phone.

Mouikey Wed 27-Feb-19 19:44:32

Have your u considered finding a workspace away from home? We have free hubs locally and that where I work on occasion when I work from home. I couldn’t physically be at home because of my toddler.

DanielRicciardosSmile Wed 27-Feb-19 19:45:01

@donquixote I knew without looking that was your post! grin

ApplestheHare Wed 27-Feb-19 19:48:25

OP I'm so intrigued by the unhinged behaviour. What are they actually doing?

Also, the being available round the clock issue is obviously separate but I can understand if that's happening and you're fed up with it. Everyone needs clear lines between personal and working time.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:49:13

Sorry - I will try to be more specific. I am in a bit of a state after a horrid Skype call - and still trying to figure out what actually happened and also furious that I had to put up with this bullying behaviour. That my child was at home is neither here nor there, but unfortunately they had to listen to somebody’s erratic and unreasonable personal attacks on their mum.

Dermymc Wed 27-Feb-19 19:51:11

Take it higher. Go to their boss.

Tbf with Skype surely you can just turn it off if someone's being a knob.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:51:38

Unhinged as in unfiltered brain to mouth - no inhibitions - unprofessional and personal comments - no extreme swearing.

dontgobaconmyheart Wed 27-Feb-19 19:53:51

What actually is this behaviour though OP? Can you not request these people behave in a professional manner? It is ultimately hard to say without knowing the extent or what the level of appropriateness is. I get that if it makes you uncomfortable that must be a huge drain, but in terms of the children hearing etc, unfortunately YABU.

Working from home means you are at work during those hours, they aren't 'in' your home at all, you'd not be able to take the kids to work anywhere else so YABU to expect an already convenient work set up to be made even more convenient when it is your job, not something you are squeezing in to your day at home. Working at home with young kids isn't all it's cracked up to be for this reason.

Do you have a home office/childcare? Just curious about The circumstances that result in the kids being in the 'home office' while you're working- how old are they?

If childcare etc is an option you could work from a hired or shared co-working space/hotdesk scenario; lots of people do. Obviously we don't know the nature of your job or your employer but lots of companies who employ remote workers are on board with this. If the at-home situation doesn't work quite as it is there may well be tweaks you can make.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:55:07

I work long hours and yes at some point the kids come back from school. I usually work until 7 or so.

WeeDangerousSpike Wed 27-Feb-19 19:56:56

Is the language you're talking about 'reach out' and 'blue sky thinking' or similar? If so Yanbu.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 19:58:04

You need a headset as a start,
And / or not be taking calls in the same room as your child is.

We are AOK with a bit of background noise on the team >
eg I was cooking pasta the other day during a team meet but it was 19:30 and I do have a life and kids to feed!

In general though, during office hours, meetings with people who are not your direct colleagues and where you might have some agreed leeway, and most espeicalyl with clients, you need to maintain office levels of little background noise / distraction / random kids / TVs etc

Why are you workig with your kid in the room and not on a headset if you know your colleagues are a bit random?

Why didn't you up sticks and go into a different room and shut the door as soon as they started going on at you?

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 19:58:40

I get it that my children are my responsibility - I have worked from home before and never had the issue that I was uncomfortable with how people behaved towards me on calls. It’s the first time that it now strikes me as making me uncomfortable and unhappy.

Conniedescending Wed 27-Feb-19 19:58:58

Just get a headset - I use Skype all the time and use a headset so people can only hear me

I do t consider the people being invited until my home!

Sounds like someone was offloading tbh - v normal at work

WeeDangerousSpike Wed 27-Feb-19 19:59:29

Does Skype have the facility to record? I've never used it, so don't know.

If colleagues really are being that unprofessional then proof to take to HR would be your friend!

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 20:00:05

You need a headset.

Job done.

If your colleagues are out of order that's a different issue > to have a word / HR

Conniedescending Wed 27-Feb-19 20:01:42

Think it's unprofessional for your children to be hearing work conversations some of which are likely to be confidential or sensitive - do the people unspeakable with know they are speaking on a speaker phone? I expect colleagues to respect my privacy as well

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 20:04:24

Agreed I have to use a headset. I am on a different floor at the other end of the house anyway. My DC was coming upstairs to briefly say hello after school - which is completely acceptable and they know I am working and they don’t stay - they just come in for 2 minutes. They had to listen to an abusive tirade that was launched on me. Basically a very sexist tirade interspersed with personal attacks. I am a woman and therefore I should not stick up for myself and do as I am told. I should behave more like a woman.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 27-Feb-19 20:07:37

That doesn't sound like a remote worker problem be it doesn't sound like you need to ask them to be respectful of your home... it sounds like you need to make a complaint.

Purpleartichoke Wed 27-Feb-19 20:07:51

Your colleague should not be acting that way. Take it up with Hr, but do not mention your children, they are irrelevant.

-Signed someone who also works from home exclusively.

HunterHearstHelmsley Wed 27-Feb-19 20:08:03

There's often a toddler with me when I'm working from home. I don't tell my workmates that there is a toddler there as there shouldn't be.

If swearing etc. is normal in your work place then you need to get a headset to ensure young ears can't hear.

Xiaoxiong Wed 27-Feb-19 20:09:47

That has nothing to do with your children being present, working from home, or anything else. That's just straightforwardly unprofessional behaviour that would be unacceptable in any workplace. I'd be making detailed notes of what they said, when they said it, and making a complaint.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 20:11:53

I take the point that it’s not so much related to wfh but it makes it harder to deal with and even if DC can’t hear the other side as I should wear a headset, they will still hear me or notice that I am upset. I doubt this behaviour would occur in an office. I do think people are more unhinged on Skype.

RedHatsDoNotSuitMe Wed 27-Feb-19 20:14:20

This thread is hard work!

It's really hard to give advice when the OP isn't clear and remains vague.

PuppyMonkey Wed 27-Feb-19 20:17:52

Surely an abusive, sexist tirade from a colleague is something you need to report to a manager? Nothing to do with the fact you wfh.confused

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 20:21:30

Then you go in a different room and shut the door.
If the only other room is the bog so be it.

So as not to expose your kid to that.

I don't understand.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 20:22:58

Just seen other post, you need to report to HR.

As for kid seeing mother abused well you can get that out on the street, do what you would do there, explain to kid that man is a total dick who obviosuly has real problems, to put it out of mind. and if anyone ever speaks to her like that it's wrong and she tells you.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 20:23:43

don't know why have assumed DC is girl.

same advice for boy.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 20:25:30

We have a big house but you can still hear what’s being said even through closed doors.
Point taken regarding headset - even if it makes the whole unpleasantness more unbearable.

Holidayshopping Wed 27-Feb-19 20:29:52

This has nothing to do with you working from home. If your colleague was unprofessional, report them.

Are you working until 7pm with the children in the house? Would it be better to have some sort of childcare for them if you’re working? Apologies if they’re 16 or something, though then you probably wouldn’t be so worried by them hearing your colleagues.

ILoveHumanity Wed 27-Feb-19 20:31:18

Can you record the conversation next time and report it

Etino Wed 27-Feb-19 20:31:24

Sounds awful. I’d not see it as remote working problem but an abusive collegue problem.

LimpidPools Wed 27-Feb-19 20:33:00

If it's one person behaving in a recognisably unprofessional, offensive or bullying manner then of course it's not acceptable. Not over skype, not in an office, not in any professional context.

If that's the case then the home office/skype issue is a red herring. It doesn't matter where you are working from, if this is a colleague and you have legitimate cause for complaint then that's exactly what you should do!

Eve Wed 27-Feb-19 20:33:03

Work colleagues should most definitely not be more unhinged on skype.

I would expect the same standards of professional behaviour as in an office or face to face.

A tirade and personal attack’s should not be tolerated. Hang up and escalate / report immediately.

donquixotedelamancha Wed 27-Feb-19 20:34:26

donquixote I knew without looking that was your post! grin

That may be the nicest compliment I've had. Thank you.

@OP. Basically a very sexist tirade interspersed with personal attacks. I am a woman and therefore I should not stick up for myself and do as I am told. I should behave more like a woman.

angry Behave like a woman then. A professional woman. Write down exactly what he said, word for word while it's fresh. Tomorrow, when you've had time to mull, write a grievance to HR and follow it up.

Your issue is nothing to do with the kids. Your issue is that it is not acceptable to make personal attacks or sexist generalisations.

NannyRed Wed 27-Feb-19 20:35:33

But they are not in your home, they’re in their office, an adult environment. They shouldn’t have to behave for your children. You’re wrong for bringing your children into a workplace.

mumwon Wed 27-Feb-19 20:40:08

have a recorded message before ANY interaction which states "all calls are recorded for training & other purposes" than record otherwise you might be in conflict with data laws BUT once this is stated it may put off prats talking to you like that & you will have legal recording you can use.

goodwinter Wed 27-Feb-19 20:51:01

Honestly OP why post if you're going to make people drag information out of you?

Agree with PP that this sounds like you have a dickhead of a colleague that needs reporting to HR and/or line management. This is completely independent of WFH, your kids being around, etc.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 21:09:14

My working day is supposed to end at 6 but everybody is working late. It is expected and my DCs are in their teens - they get upset, not because of the swearing, but because they think this is unacceptable behaviour.

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 21:09:45

I meant to say I don’t need childcare as such.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Wed 27-Feb-19 21:15:37

So this is nothing whatsoever to do with either working remotely or your children or even seemingly colleagues in general.

It’s about one person behaving badly. In which case, deal with it just as you would in any work environment - talk to your boss or your HR. No you shouldn’t have to put up with it so get it dealt with.

Dotty1970 Wed 27-Feb-19 21:16:51

Your just blanking most of the advice! Just be more specific, it's like getting blood from a stone!

You should not have your children around for them to hear anything whilst your working, you keep coming up with allsorts of answers. Keep your children away, go to greet them instead after school and wear a headset! Ffs.

Report the colleagues that are offending you.

And yes it is like this and worse in office environments, at least you don't have to be near them. Your fortunate.

Dotty1970 Wed 27-Feb-19 21:19:03

If your teenagers! are getting upset you should be shielding them from it, I thought it was young children that just walk in as such.
This is pathetic.

BackforGood Wed 27-Feb-19 21:22:25

YANBU to expect civilised behaviour from my remote work colleagues?. Of course you aren't.

This has nothing to do with you working from home, or working in an office. Or is you work with colleagues face to face or over Skype. You have a right to expect people to treat you with respect.

Your dc are a complete red herring, and you shouldn't bring them in to this conversation. If you are working from home, you need to have a workspace to do that - it is no-one else's fault if your dc are in the room.

They had to listen to an abusive tirade that was launched on me. Basically a very sexist tirade interspersed with personal attacks.

You shouldn't have to listen to that.
You should tell them you won't be listening to them speaking to you and cut the call off. You should then report it to a manger.

But this has nothing to do with where you are working.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 27-Feb-19 21:24:24

1. report to hr
2. look for another job
3. tell kids you arelooking for another job as it's not worth it being treated like that BUT it might take time / not much out there as recession

but FGS don't let them think it's the norm in work to be verbally abused.

Leighhalfpennysthigh Wed 27-Feb-19 21:32:23

This is nothing to do with your children and everything to do with a colleague bullying you. For gods sake go to HR about is as you can guarantee that he'll be like that with all women. As a professional you should not have to endure calls in which you are bullied or harassed. But leave your children out if it.

eurochick Wed 27-Feb-19 21:39:51

If your colleague was trying to get information out of you on the call, I'm beginning to understand why they might have behaved unprofessionally...

Toolonguntilthenextholiday Wed 27-Feb-19 23:14:59

Sorry - I cannot be more specific but otoh I have now said a few times that

- my office is separate from our living space
- DC inadvertently listened to the conversation
- I will wear a headset from now on after school in case this is happening again
- I do think i have a point that I should not be insulted in my own home, even during my working hours
- I have wfh for a few years and never encountered this sort of behaviour before

I have accepted many points in this thread and it has helped to clarify what the problem actually is, so thank you all. But I will not be sharing any more details.

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