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To think when I am on annual leave my colleague should be doing my work

(122 Posts)
Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 04:00:16

Just that really. I have returned from annual leave to find all the work has been waiting for me, emails unanswered despite an out of office on requesting the email my colleague or Manager. We share our role and when he is away I always respond to emails and cover his work as well as my own. This isnt work that should be left or can have penalties and implications.

I have been up until now resolving all the issues just so I can have a more normal day tomorrow, when I log on again at 8am.

I think I need to raise this with my Manager but I noted some of the emails are from her, and really she should know as I am away that my colleague should be dealing with them.

This happens all the time, and I am starting to dread taking leave as it just means double the work when I return.

How do others cope, is this the same for everyone or am I just unlucky

OP’s posts: |
Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 04:03:14

What makes it worse is my Manager insists I take leave as she is worried I will burn out, but this really doesn't alleviate my stress. We are working from home and will be for some time. If I log on and work late she says I shouldn't be doing so and need a proper break, but then it just builds up so its not really helpful.

OP’s posts: |
eurochick Tue 04-Aug-20 04:03:30

Do you do a pre-holiday handover?

Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 04:07:37

eurochick

Do you do a pre-holiday handover?

Yes I do, but we share all the work so he knows the score on that, and I do it for him when on leave. I think one of the problems is that staff are aware I respond to emails and get things resolved quickly so choose to email me rather than the departmental inbox. I assumed they would see the out of office and then email my colleague so it could be they havent done so. I like my colleague and when both working we share the workload fairly, its just when I am on leave things just get left until I return, I even saw a comment on one email that he had asked the emailer to wait for my return when he could easily have picked it up.

OP’s posts: |
Rainbowqueeen Tue 04-Aug-20 04:26:15

I’d do 3 things

1. Stop people from emailing you directly. Make them use the general inbox. What if you were sick and something urgent came in which was missed because you didn’t have your out of office alert on?
2 speak to your manager. You know them and your relationship best so the right way to approach it. Whatever the response, follow up with an email setting it out eg I confirm our discussion on xxx where you advised that all staff in x department should be providing cover for other staff on leave or whatever so that there is a paper trail
3 next time she raises you taking leave or you apply for leave, remind her of the conversation and email confirming that

Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 04:31:21

Rainbowqueeen

I’d do 3 things

1. Stop people from emailing you directly. Make them use the general inbox. What if you were sick and something urgent came in which was missed because you didn’t have your out of office alert on?
2 speak to your manager. You know them and your relationship best so the right way to approach it. Whatever the response, follow up with an email setting it out eg I confirm our discussion on xxx where you advised that all staff in x department should be providing cover for other staff on leave or whatever so that there is a paper trail
3 next time she raises you taking leave or you apply for leave, remind her of the conversation and email confirming that

Thanks for these suggestions, I will definitely take this up with my manager and ask that the general inbox is used rather than my personal one. The departmental inbox is access by 9 people in the department, but in reality its just myself and my colleague that respond to the emails, we always have to forward them on to the team if they require their input, as they just ignore the emails in there. It makes good sense to have all my emails sent there, except for personal emails, like my appraisal documents and HR related issues.

OP’s posts: |
Mintjulia Tue 04-Aug-20 04:32:25

If he’s busy with his own work, why should he suddenly do twice the hours to cover for you?

You choose to sit up all night clearing the backlog. You should have left it for working hours and dealt with it on a priority/needs basis.

Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 04:34:47

Mintjulia

If he’s busy with his own work, why should he suddenly do twice the hours to cover for you?

You choose to sit up all night clearing the backlog. You should have left it for working hours and dealt with it on a priority/needs basis.

I get your point, but then it goes back to what is the point in taking annual leave if you just have double the amount when you return.

OP’s posts: |
TeapotCollection Tue 04-Aug-20 04:42:17

I thought this was normal, no one does any of my work when I’m on holiday. If they did, I think I’d be worried that they could probably do without me

LockdownQ Tue 04-Aug-20 04:45:46

TeapotCollection

I thought this was normal, no one does any of my work when I’m on holiday. If they did, I think I’d be worried that they could probably do without me


Same, but it depends on the set up in your team OP.

No one would do my work, or have access to my emails/inbox. But if my OOO redirected people to a colleague, the senders did that and my colleague didn't reply, yes I'd be annoyed.

Do you know if any of the emails in your inbox were then sent on to your colleague?

Jenasaurus Tue 04-Aug-20 05:07:14

I basically work in an Estates/Facilities team we have problems reported to us that need action asap, like roof leaks, pest control, asbestos issues, but we also pay the invoices on our 155 sites for Rates, rents etc.. If I take 2 weeks leave and no one responds to an email it could have a serious outcome, some things have to be dealt with asap.

OP’s posts: |
babydisney Tue 04-Aug-20 05:13:44

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 04-Aug-20 05:17:08

If you all work in the same team, are supposed to share the work and cover for each other then of course he should have done the work while you were away. It's not your work, it's the teams work. Does he normally pull his weight when you are both there?

You've made a mistake by logging in before your official return though and working through the night. You should have gone in this morning at your normal time and said to colleague 'so what's been happening then' with the expectation that there's been x, y and z issues that have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved.

Definitely sounds like a colleague problem and also a manager problem as they should have not let your colleague let things build up.

BlackberrySky Tue 04-Aug-20 05:20:23

It sounds like your office needs a better system for ensuring urgent emails are seen and dealt with, but other than that, your colleagues should not be doing your routine work. It is totally normal to have to both prepare and catch up from annual leave otherwise though.

TW2013 Tue 04-Aug-20 05:24:00

I think that your mistake is getting them to use your personal email. If I emailed and got an out of office message I would only contact the other person on the email if I were desperate, so roof leaks yes, pest control I might wait a few days, asbestos I would figure had been there for years so would definitely wait unless it had been disturbed. If you had given me your personal work email I would figure you were my contact and best to wait for you.

Wht do you think that your colleague doesn't respond? Because he thinks it is beneath him or because he is incompetent? Do you think he often off loads things on to you? Does he have his regulars too who just contact him?

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 04-Aug-20 05:41:55

It sounds like people have a lot more faith in you to assist them. If they emailed the general email address would the work be picked up as quickly? Would your colleague just pick up the work or just do the easy tasks if everything went to the general address? Does this come down to a lack of procedures and as a result he is worming his way out?

Perhaps you and your colleague need areas assigned then a hand over with holidays. Maybe you also need a system in place whereupon the cases are coded as 1/2/3/4 in importance. It would be relatively easy to decide on these parameters and the person generating the job could code it themselves. If 3/4 could be left until your colleague returns and this would be fairer on you.

It sounds like your colleague is either lazy, not as competent or experienced in the role. Either way it sounds as though you need to force him into working with you and that will require additional procedures and / or him following them.

Werk Tue 04-Aug-20 05:44:31

I have the same problem OP.
Technically, we have our own work but when my colleague is away I am expected to deal with his matters (he is more senior than me, his PA will forward his emails to me and tell me deal with them) but when I am away he refuses to do the same for me, he won't even check my emails - they are auto forwarded to the department inbox and I just have to hope nothing personal comes in. I am PT, he is FT so when he is away I get LOADS of extra work. I have to return all of his calls and voicemails (when his PA usually does them). I suspect she is part of the problem.

It is the simple things that annoy me, things that would take two seconds to ask his PA to do, but no, it has to wait for my return.

I am due back at work tomorrow and I am awake now worrying about it. I know that I will have tons of emails and messages and everyone will expect a reply tomorrow because the OOO says that is when I return.

I am expected to leave everything up to date and notes on everything (which no one looks at) whereas he leaves his as is with his PA there to "explain" - she never knows anything. He will also deliberately send out incendiary letters or emails just before his departure with "contact Werk if there are any questions" type thing. He also uses his leave as an opportunity to pass on any shitty bits of work he doesn't want to do - so I will deal with a minor point on something and when he gets back he says "as you have been dealing with this I think it will be better if you carry it on". Grrrr

As I said he is more senior than me but is not my boss, he is more senior because he is older and has been there longer and so on a different contract. He absolutely does not get to divvy work out to me. He is a dinosaur with a PA when the rest of us use the pool assistants and secretaries. He would be very quick to complain to our bosses if I did not do something. It is an old boys network.

If he has again refused to do any work on my matters then I am going to have to raise it with our bosses. It totally ruins any holiday I have - I end up working longer hours the week or two before I go to get everything in order and to leave notes on everything and then the following two weeks to catch up. It completely removes the point of a holiday.

Staplemaple Tue 04-Aug-20 05:49:52

What does your out of office say? We always put your email won't be seen until x date, if urgent please forward to y- we did think of using auto forward but it's problematic if you receive a personal email, so for that reason we didn't. A shared mailbox is even better, but people will still probably just email the person they last had contact with. I would expect absolutely time critical stuff to be dealt with, but not all of my work as I'd assume colleagues had their own stuff to deal with, and I always block out a day or so when I'm back to catch up with correspondence etc so no one books meetings in when I return from leave.

It sounds like your colleague is either lazy, not as competent or experienced in the role

I don't think we can tell that from what has been said.

Pobblebonk Tue 04-Aug-20 06:59:44

Do you have auto reply messages directing people to someone else's email when you're not there?

Bellringer Tue 04-Aug-20 07:00:57

You don't have to clear everything the first day back. Speak to colleague or discuss in team meeting or w manager. Chill

SnuggyBuggy Tue 04-Aug-20 07:06:39

In fairness if these things were that urgent the person would have chased them up with your colleague after getting an out of office email surely?

Patch23042 Tue 04-Aug-20 07:17:14

Your manager needs to put better procedures in place. Speak to her. Working until 4am is absurd. She needs to sort this problem out before either of you next takes leave.

On another note, isn’t auto-forward a data protection concern, potentially? Some emails come from HR. I don’t think that this is a solution.

maddiemookins16mum Tue 04-Aug-20 07:20:35

I couldn’t possibly do two peoples work. I’m already doing tons of extra for those furloughed until October. I’m dreading my week off, it will be horrendous when I get back.

Pluckedpencil Tue 04-Aug-20 07:26:11

If it is a busy sort of place, and only one person can cover you, I think it is most normal to cover the essentials and do what is possible to prevent a backlog, and ask for people to wait for anything slightly fiddly.
I don't expect to come back to normality after a holiday, but I do expect that the urgent and important things have been progressed. I would be tempted in your position to check my emails each day on holiday and forward anything important directly to the colleague with a comment "needs action before I return". It is easy to drop a ball when you are covering.

SnuggyBuggy Tue 04-Aug-20 07:26:35

Part of the reason I didn't go back to my last job was having to do two people's work during my colleagues long holidays. I even started mat leave early to avoid her month long US trip. Its one thing in a large team where the work can be divided between lots of people but one person doing 2 peoples work isn't reasonable.

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