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Missing meetings because of reduced hours!(28 Posts)
Two years ago I was totally grateful to find a managerial post with reduced hours, so I could keep my career on track whilst bringing up my three little kids (6, 4 and 2 yo). I am more experienced and senior than previous post-holders and because I'm on reduced hours, I cost the company less of course and have implemented several positive changes.
But at the moment, I am really anxious because colleagues organise meetings at hours I don't work and accuse me of ' slowing them down' if they have to adjust to my work schedule. Some colleagues just tell me that they tried to contact me, but I wasn't in my office, so they went ahead and took decisions which affect my areas without me [even though I'm always contactable on my mobile!].
I work in a male-dominated environment so there is some clear misogyny, but at the same time, I need to be effective. Every time I have a disagreement with someone, they complain about my hours or the fact that my work is 'slow'.
Should I give in, let meetings go ahead without me as long as I am updated or should I stick to my guns and insist that such meetings should be held during my hours?
For example, I have given in and allowed job interviews to be held in my absence, even though I head the HR function, but I am worried that giving in might result in me being ignored or excluded routinely.
I'd really appreciate advice as I feel I'm losing my confidence and this job is extremely important to me. There is only one person in my team (new graduate) and I am finding colleagues going directly to him instead of to me simply because he is present, which is both risky and upsetting.
Can you think about it in terms of risk/benefits to the business and bring in your own line manager to agree the decisions that do need your involvement, probably the most important and complex ones, that must therefore be in line with your working week, and those that you need to be in the loop about but not a decision maker on?
Pushing ahead on some things without the HR director involved will be a serious organisational risk and your line manager will want to make sure that doesn't happen.
Your line manager should also be more aware of the need to support senior women in the business to support public profile, work-winning, gender pay gap reporting etc. It doesn't always feel right to be enlisting someone else but it feels like the right thing to do here to demonstrate your seniority.
Maybe also a period of insisting on meetings in your working hours but dealing with quick things by email out of hours and directing your landline to your mobile out of hours so no-one can say they couldn't reach you. Greenlighting easy things quickly and saving the meetings for the complex issues? You shouldn't have to technically but it might help show willing while the bigger changes are being enforced.
Can you set up your phone so calls are forwarded to your mobile when you aren't there? Then you can say yourself whether your staff can cover for you, or that you will discuss with the caller when you are in the office. Also means you don't have to admit you aren't tehcnically working as you could be anywhere.
Your staff member needs to know what he can do - think of it as a development opportunity for him - and what decisions he needs to bring to you.
Yes snd it may prove that it's not possible to do your job correctly in that reduced time, but i think before reaching that conclusion you need to have a clinical look at everything you do and decide what can be delegated and what cannot.
If there is stuff there that could be delegated but the issue is that there isn't enough resource to pass it down to or it's too much for the remit of the graduate trainee, then you have a good case for bringing some one else in. They've got the saving from having you reduced hours so budget should run to a part time HR manager if needed.
By accepting a reduced hours post, I have entered unknown territory..
yes, I too feel that sometimes these meetings are held deliberately when I'm not available, especially since some of my duties involve insisting on procedures and paperwork which are unpopular with senior staff who like flexibility.
I think you're taking the right approach OP. It sounds like you have a big job that would be difficult to fulfil even if you were full time so it's not unreasonable to have to prioritise as you're not.
Flexing your hours is a good idea as well, as it shows that you're willing to adapt and will help flush out if people are genuinely struggling with you not being there or just being bloody minded.
FWIW I used to do fairly reduced hours ( am now 4 days a week which works just fine) and in my time of doing that there was one and potentially two people who I felt deliberately put things in for my non working time, everyone else seemed ok with it.
I'm just going to insist that I need to attend senior management meetings which concern my area. Other meetings, can be delegated or I can be briefed. I'll just have to let that go and not see this as a defeat or insult to me.
Thanks for your replies. This is all very helpful. I am going to try compressing my hours so I can attend two afternoons each week. Let's see if this works.
I agree, the fact that I'm part-time and senior does irritate a number of people and it does (obviously) mean that I get less done than people working full-time. I feel extremely guilty about this, as I've only gone part-time relatively recently and still have 100% full-time standards.
Sorry, but I see it as your problem.
You chose the hours you work & if I was in your team or had to arrange meetings I'd be p**sed off that they always had to be in the mornings. I reckon they've already accommodated you somewhat by letting you start at 8am.......how many of the others do that ?? Are most contracted to start at 9am ?? Flexible working is all fine & dandy if it fits in with the rest of the company- it seems yours doesn't. They either need to find someone to job share with you so there is someone there from 1pm onwards or you suck it up. Or leave. I dont think its down to everyone else to accommodate the way YOU want to work
Actually rereading your OP, if you genuinely don't mind being phoned in the afternoon then ask the graduate to phone you if he gets any major queries- whilst of course encouraging him to have thought of his own response so he can run it past you.
It's not reasonable to expect a business to take no decisions or have any meetings in the afternoon. It is reasonable for colleagues to try - where possible - to schedule major meetings when you are in. I can see it from your colleagues point of view and as I said, I think you need to review what level of decision making you need to be involved in and what you can step away from and possibly get in some more support.
most folk start at 9 and if you factor in lunchtime then there's 3 hrs per day when meetings can be scheduled when you are around
Exactly what I was thinking, maybe a bit U to expect all meetings to be held between 9-12, and nothing important to happen / no decision to be made in the afternoons.
(I work 8-2 so l totally understand it from your POV as well)
You need to speak to hr and tell them to look at Athena Swan ... basically all key meetings have to be within set core hours and those who work pt for caring reasons should not be disadvantaged
It sounds like you need to work out what support you need and make a case for it.
I’ve worked PT so this is not a dig - but people are only able to arrange meetings between 9am and 1pm as meetings tend to start after 9am (
Whilst it’s great that you can work PT, with the company growing the way it is, is this sustainable? Can you do one or two longer days so you are available after 1pm?
Where meetings affect you and you need to be there, and there is space in your diary, then they should be in your working hours & the repeated arranging of meetings out of your hours is really unprofessional. Someone more senior needs to step in and make this clear.
In terms of commenting on you not being in and it slowing them down. That may well be true. Elements of my job are slower due to having part time staff in the team, some of that can be worked around by good communication, but sometimes I've got to make decisions quickly and if they're not in then they're not in.
There may be some frustrations that could be understandable, but that should be aired professionally by individuals and a resolution found, not by nasty pack mentality and behaving unprofessionally.
Are they all full time? Sounds like they’re a bit resentful that you’re senior to them at nearly half their hours, which I kind of understand. But they’re being v unprofessional.
It sounds, quite frankly, that they’re being dicks because you’re part time. I’ve seen this before.
Be firm. Not apologetic.
Just tell them to put the meeting in when it is your working hours. Those are your working hours, end of. They know them well in advance and there’s no excuse.
If you had a clash they would rearrange.
Any meetings that really are difficult - ask for a full briefing before and after.
I discussed this with a very senior colleague at a large professional services firm once. She too has this sort of shit happen all the time and it’s unacceptable IMO.
The odd meeting here or there, fine, but when it becomes systematic then it’s not acceptable.
I am in a same position but I don't have this trouble particularly. My advice is to pick your battles. If I need to be at a meeting then it has to happen on my working days. If not then they can knock themselves out, and advise me later or ask for my input in advance. If you work every day then it can't be that hard to get you - i am only the back end of the week.
More often people want me to be there anyway which seems to be a difference here.
Do people see you as a blocker? And using your working hours as a front for that?
Ok so you're in every day which is helpful but I would guess most folk start at 9 and if you factor in lunchtime then there's 3 hrs per day when meetings can be scheduled when you are around.
I think you've got to let a lot more work go or let someone else attend in a delegated capacity for this ti work. I don't think it's fair to your colleagues to expect all meetings to take place in the mornings. If it's regular senior management meetings perhaps your area can take on responsibility for booking them and thus ensure you can attend.
I work 9-2:30 daily, senior management position in the NHS. I grey out my calendar for the times I'm not in work, and state "no meetings". My colleagues know I can be a little flexible, whereby I can try organise after school care, but they always ask me first and give me plenty of notice. My colleagues respect my hours and only book meetings during these hours...and I go to a LOT of meetings. If one is organised by another nhs site, I have to see whether I can go. If I can't, I delegate to someone else. I think your colleagues are deliberately disrespecting your hours, and you need to challenge them.
Thanks for your replies. I work 25 hours weekly, which is 8am till 1pm.
I agree - I think I can step out of job interview panels for roles not reporting to me, but not senior management meetings organised by colleagues.
The company I work for is growing and I think I may need more team (only one new graduate at present) and I head HR function for 100 staff.
”There is only one person in my team (new graduate) and I am finding colleagues going directly to him instead of to me simply because he is present, which is both risky and upsetting.”
There’s nothing wrong with this, all you need to do is make sure he is absolutely clear what his decision-making/action-taking remit is. As long as he’s clear (and is clear with people approaching him) what he can do, what he needs to run by you, what he needs to tell other people to talk to you about rather than him, that should be fine.
When you say you’ve “allowed” interviews to go ahead without you, what kind of roles? Unless they are reporting into you there shouldn’t be a need for the Head of HR to be in all interviews.
Whether you push back about the meetings depends- are decisions being taken there that affect your area/your role? Is the business missing your input at times when it is needed? Is whoever you report to ok with you missing them?
Are these colleagues the same management level as you you?
Your role has been worked out that it only requires X hours and that is why the position was advertised as such. Therefor it was worked out that it could be carried out in those hours.
There is no reason that meetings can't be scheduled for those days unless the days you work clash with something that can't be changed due to customer requirements. If the later is the case you could alter your days so they don't clash. If they are doing it to be bloody minded then it's a case of bad behaviour and could be classed as bullying behaviour.
You need to step back and look at what you would do as HR if an employee came to you with this issue. Then apply the same action.
Can you speak to your line manager and ask that meetings are held in your working hours? Also how about Skyping when you can't attend?
I'd push - you don't want to put promotion on the back burner so make them fit you in - check with HR if there's a policy on reduced hours and meetings etc
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