Author Topic: *when* are you coming over to my desk?  (Read 4840 times)

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TootsNYC

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*when* are you coming over to my desk?
« on: January 06, 2013, 05:39:19 PM »
I'm going to have to change my tactics, because twice this week I've gotten burned.

When I'm working on a project, sometimes I need input from the person in charge of it. And occasionally I get that input by having them come over to *my* desk and look over my shoulder at the computer screen.

So on Wed., I called a project head and said, "I'm almost done, but I need your help with this. Can you come over?" She said, "sure," and then I waited. And waited. I was hungry, but I didn't want to go to get something because I thought she'd be there any minute. I got distracted with a few piddly things while I waited, and then I called her and left a message saying, "I'm waiting on you."
    About 20 minutes later, or more, she comes by. I said, "I was waiting on you," and she said, "I had to go through my emails." (She'd been away between the holidays.)
    I didn't say anything (maybe I should have, but I was too crabby and hungry to trust myself), but I thought, "you couldn't have told me that when I called? Then I could have gone and gotten something to eat instead of staying here."

Later in the week it happened again--I called someone and said, "Can you come help me with this?" and she said sure. So 10 minutes later I send an email saying, "here's what I think will fix it." I wait 7 more minutes, no answer, so I walk over there.

I'm going to start saying, "How soon will you be able to get here? Will you be able to come right away?"
I know they have lots of stuff to do, but so do I. And I'm happy to wait--I'm actually good at being patient. But I'd like to know.

What do you think of the new plan?

And am I right in thinking it wasn't particularly polite of them, to not say, "sure, in about 15 minutes," or "I'm got to go through my email first." Or to call once they realized how long it was taking.

Hmmmmm

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 05:55:13 PM »
Yes, please ask if they can come now or will be by later.  "I'm finished with X.  Are you available to come now?"

If someone doesn't give me a time frame, I am assuming they are leaving it to me to come when I want.

MyFamily

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 06:08:40 PM »
Your requests for assistance never indicate that you need them to come now.  So, why would you expect them to drop everything right away and come help you?  Unless there is a time demand, my assumption is that your request is for you to come when it is convient for me to come, based on my personal workload.  If you want to know when they will come over, that is legitimate, but you need to ask that, and not assume they are coming right away.  I'd envision a conversation like this:
"I'm up to X section of project B.  In order for me to go further, I need your input on Y. Can you come to my desk to review this with me?"

"Sure!"

"Great! Thank you.  What works for your schedule?  I don't want to be too pushy, but I can't go forward on this project until we meet.  Thank you."


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

TootsNYC

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 06:10:05 PM »
hmm, that's interesting.

I sort of though that there was an unspoken timeframe--right away. Stuff normally moves through my own department pretty rapidly; we're the last in the chain.

And I guess I also was acting under the assumption that if the weren't coming right away, they would say. That "can you come by my desk and look at this thing I'm currently working on, and have open on my screen" means "pretty promptly."


buvezdevin

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 06:25:32 PM »
Maybe make the immediacy of your request more explicit, while acknowledging that if "right now" is not convenient for them, can they let you know when they can come look at the project.

"I need your input on X project, and think it would be best if you can come by my desk and see the widget-in-progress - would you mind coming over now, or let me know what works for you?"
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

oceanus

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 06:36:09 PM »
I think when you initially ask for help you should say "Are you in the middle of something?" or "Do you have a few minutes?", and make it clear that you can't go forward.

Then the other person has the chance to say "No problem, be right there" or "Let me finish checking my emails, and I'll be over in about 10-15 minutes."


blarg314

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 08:50:28 PM »
I agree that checking the time frame is good, and also not expecting them to come over immediately.  Assume that whatever they are currently working on is also important, and that they'll need a bit of time to come to a natural stopping point.

I know that for the kind of stuff I work on, five-ten minutes can make the difference between easily being able to pick up where I left off, or spending fifteen minutes or more getting back to that point.

perpetua

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 05:12:26 AM »
It's a bit snowflakey to expect other people to immediately drop what they're doing to attend to you. Perhaps "I need some assistance with (x) task - when might you be able to stop by?" would be a more polite way to handle it.

YummyMummy66

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 07:54:11 AM »
Is there a reason they must come to your desk?

You say looking at your computer screen.  Could you not get up, go to said person't desk and/or office and ask about the help and load the info. onto their computer?

You are asking for help, not them.  If it were me, I would be going to them for the help, not expecting them to drop everything and come to me at that very second.   You have a job to do as they do also. 

I agree with others that when you ask for help, you might want to also ask when they will be able to stop by.  This way, if you are not able to go to them, you can work on other things as well until they are able to come to your desk.

Hmmmmm

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 08:09:29 AM »
Is there a reason they must come to your desk?

You say looking at your computer screen.  Could you not get up, go to said person't desk and/or office and ask about the help and load the info. onto their computer?

You are asking for help, not them.  If it were me, I would be going to them for the help, not expecting them to drop everything and come to me at that very second.   You have a job to do as they do also. 

I agree with others that when you ask for help, you might want to also ask when they will be able to stop by.  This way, if you are not able to go to them, you can work on other things as well until they are able to come to your desk.

I dont think there is anything wrong with them going to Toots desk.

Toots didn't say she was needing help.  She said she is doing a activity for them and needs their input.  I'm imaging some type of design thing and she wants them to review and approve before finalizing.  It's their project, she is just completing a portion for them.  Many people at my office use specialty software that is not loaded on everyone's computer so it really wouldn't work to take to someone else.  Or the time it would take to load up fir someone would be unreasonable.  I'm thinking of CAD drawings.

I think just clarifying if they are available now is fine.

bopper

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 09:43:50 AM »
Do you have one of those "Live Meeting" or "WebX" computer screen sharing programs? Then nobody has to get up!

Otherwise, "Do you have a minute to come by now to give me the info?"

amylouky

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 10:30:52 AM »
I think you'll save yourself a lot of headache (and hunger?) by specifying a time frame. As seen from these replies, "come over" is not always interpreted as "right now".. actually, I think more people take it as "when you have time".
I generally start with, "Do you have a minute to look at something with me?" which I think prompts the other person to say when they do/will have time. It isn't always easy to drop everything to go off and do another task. If I get asked something like this, I'll reply with "Sure, can you give me 10 mins and I'll walk over?"

TootsNYC

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 11:41:56 AM »
The first one was the one that annoyed me, mostly because I would have left my desk if I'd known she wasn't coming over.

And I guess I got myself into this by thinking that, at our organization, where things happen pretty rapidly, I'd have said, "Give me 5 minutes" if I needed some time.

  So when she said, "sure," I thought she'd come within the next 10 minutes. I waited much longer than that, every minute thinking, 'well, she's done with whatever was holding her up; she'll be here any minute."

Clarifying it will certainly keep me from being annoyed (and hungry but trapped at my desk).

lowspark

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 02:23:48 PM »
I actually work in a somewhat similar situation where I ask people over to my desk occasionally for advice on things I am working on for them. This office is full of very busy people so the chances that someone I contact (almost always via IM) will be able to come over immediately are low. Mostly it's going to be at least a few minutes or probably more.

But my conversations are always similar to what you describe:
me: can you come over for a quick look at xyz please?
them: sure, I'll be right there.

So, after that exchange, if they don't come over right away, I just go on about my business as usual. If I have to get up to go to the restroom or lunch or if I have to make a phone call or whatever, I just do it. When they come over, I'll either be able to receive them and discuss the issue or I won't. If I'm not there or if I'm busy, they can come back later.

It just seems to be understood that everyone is busy (including me) and we do the best we can to get together even if it takes more than one try. If I had to sit around waiting for people to come to my desk I'd end up being chained to it all day long!  ;D

So... I think you're fine to ask when they'll come over, but even then, I'd say, be prepared for the eventuality that they still might not come as planned in case they get side tracked or interrupted or whatever.

TootsNYC

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Re: *when* are you coming over to my desk?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 04:34:29 PM »
I'm totally ok w/ them getting sidetracked on their way to me. It's just that the first person seemed to have voluntarily tackled a task that could have waited.

And maybe I also need to declare stuff like, "Hey, I called you, but you didn't come, so I'm going to get a snack--I'll be back in about 7 minutes."

It's just that minutes can sometimes count. At least, for moving a task forward one stage!