General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Do as I say, not as I do

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learningtofly:
Last year I changed careers and one of the perks of this career was that the new job was computer based and thanks to laptops I could work from home if necessary.  This was common at my previous company and at companies I interviewed at.  When I was hired at my current job I was authorized to work from home during a period I knew I couldn't make it into the office.  My coworker had a similar work from home period as well.  So imagine our shock when we found out there is no work from home policy.  Period.

Then it comes out that there is a work from home policy, but it's at the discretion of your manager.  My manager keeps following the company line.  Sort of.  He tells us that there isn't a policy, but he works from home before appointments or if he has a repair person coming in the afternoon.  When he was away for business his peers assured me it wouldn't be a problem if I worked from home while waiting for a repairman, and I did, but I felt odd not having direct authorization. 

At some point I need to address this with my boss.  We've had candidates who looked surprised when the no work from home policy came up.  This is not normal in the industry.  And since boss is new as a manager and I was a new employee, I felt this could not be addressed until I had established myself as a good worker.  Just received a glowing review. 

Can I bring this up with my boss?  Should I take it on a case by case basis and only bring it up when I need to be home for something specific.  Or does being the boss entitle him to separate rules and I should remember the next time I interview for a job to ask about the work from home policy?

Arila:
At our work place it is also at the manager's discretion.

I just follow my boss' lead. He does just as yours, home in the afternoon waiting for repair man or after an appointment, etc. If I am not feeling well, I might stay at home an extra day, but get on the computer and work (to avoid spreading germs).

We have an instant messaging system which does show presence (online/active, inactive, offline, in a call etc). I quite like that, because it's a sort of passive accountability thing that I know my boss can see so he knows when I'm actually at my computer and doing at least enough stuff to keep it showing me active. I always let him know when I plan to be working remotely, each specific time.

I can see how this approach might be problematic if your boss is a regular 9 to 5 kinda person, but yours isn't.

Sophia:
Allowing it up to the manager makes sense to me.  You will always have people that don't actually truly work from home very much when they do.  A company needs to be able to yank the employee back to work when they suspect that. 

miranova:

--- Quote from: learningtofly on July 03, 2014, 10:43:22 AM ---

Can I bring this up with my boss?  Should I take it on a case by case basis and only bring it up when I need to be home for something specific.  Or does being the boss entitle him to separate rules and I should remember the next time I interview for a job to ask about the work from home policy?

--- End quote ---

Yes, you can bring it up.  But this might be one of those situations where it's best to bring it up only when you truly need it,  like waiting for a repair person and the like.  Because if you ask about the policy in general, and are told no, it's never ok, then you can't very well just stay home without asking next time because you already got your answer.
Of course being the boss entitles him to separate rules and privileges, that's kind of the whole point.  I wouldn't take a job with more responsibilities if it didn't also come with more perks and autonomy or decision making.  My husband is a manager and works remotely whenever he needs to.  His employees still have to call in when they won't be in the office and it's still up to him to decide if them working remotely is appropriate or if they need to take vacation time.  Part of the job description of being a manager is making decisions like that. The employees aren't necessarily entitled to make the same decisions. 

There may be workplaces that allow employees to decide when to work remotely, but if yours isn't one of them, that's at their discretion.  And yes I think that would be an appropriate question to ask in an interview.  I definitely wouldn't just assume it.

DCGirl:

--- Quote from: learningtofly on July 03, 2014, 10:43:22 AM ---Can I bring this up with my boss?  Should I take it on a case by case basis and only bring it up when I need to be home for something specific.  Or does being the boss entitle him to separate rules and I should remember the next time I interview for a job to ask about the work from home policy?

--- End quote ---

Yes, you can bring it up with your manager, but you need to be prepared to get an answer that you may not like and to accept it graciously.  My employer allows telework on a department-by-department basis, but my department has chosen not to implement a work-from-home policy.  We are only allowed to work from home during inclement weather (we only close if the New York Stock Exchange closes, and it's only closed once (Hurrican Sandy) in the last six years) or if there's a specific need, when the alternative would be having us miss an entire day (waiting for a repairman).  It's frustrating that other groups in the company are allowed to work from home, because my job could easily be done remotely, but them's the breaks.

Yes, being the boss does entitle him to separate rules.  "Do as I say, not as I do" implies that you believe that there is a level of hypocrisy at play here, and taking that attitude with a supervisor when there isn't can be a career-limiting move.  As I posted (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=133576.msg3151914#msg31519140) in response to your thread about having to leave if an allegely unqualified returning employee were to be hired in "above" you,  access to advancement -- and perks -- is not just a function of time at the company or time in a position.  People in senior or supervisory positions are expected to have and to exercise a level of judgement greater than that of those below them.  This includes being able to telework effectively. 

Yes, you can certainly ask about the telework policy (and I would call it telework or telecommuting, not work from home) in a future interview if it's that important to you.  Do remember that there's between asking about it and asking for it in an interview.  A questin like "What types of work-life balance initiatives do you offer your employees?" is the way to go.  Going right for what is considered by many to be a perk, not an entitlement, might lead a hiring manager to believe that you will not be happy if there is no telework policy or if the policy has to be changed in the future.  Very often, people don't start out being able to telecommute; they earn that privilege based on their performance.

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