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ought to I inform my boss my coworker is working a second job throughout her hours for us? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

I wished to get your ideas on one thing that has bugged me for some time. My coworker has a second job as a photographer and does photoshoots throughout work hours after we are required to be within the workplace (solely three days per week, thoughts you). I’m conscious that Covid created a brand new approach of earning money with aspect hustles and taking up a second distant job, however we’re required to be within the workplace three days per week, and she is going to present up for a couple of hours in the future, after which we received’t see her for 2 weeks. So as to add to that, she doesn’t reply to emails or Groups messages, solely doing the naked minimal.

I normally thoughts my very own enterprise, however I’d additionally wish to work remotely with no repercussions like my coworker is. Can I tattle? It’s not my nature to tattle, particularly since all I’d get out of it’s seeing her downfall, however I requested to work remotely in one other state and was instructed no.

I wrote again and requested: “Does it affect your/your coworkers’ work in any respect? For instance, does extra work fall on you when she’s not there, or do it’s important to wait on responses from her that you just don’t get whereas she’s doing her second job?”

Her work doesn’t fall on me, solely my coworkers. I don’t work straight along with her. However from what I’ve heard, sure, they (and our shoppers) wait on responses from her. I do know management is conscious as they’ve obtained complaints about her, however from what I do know, haven’t finished something about it. I don’t suppose the complaints contain her second job, although. I’m undecided lots of people know in regards to the second job.

That is attention-grabbing as a result of it’s not affecting you straight — that means her work isn’t falling on you — nevertheless it’s understandably irritating that you just’d wish to work remotely too and have been instructed nobody’s allowed to, when proper in entrance of you is an instance of somebody flouting that rule with no penalties.

If her absences have been affecting you, the reply can be simple: discuss to your supervisor and clarify that your coworker isn’t accessible and also you’ve having to cowl her work as a result of she’s not round. That retains it in regards to the affect on you.

I do surprise if it’s actually true that it’s not affecting you in any respect. When you don’t have to choose up precise work for her, if she’s not responding to your messages, that’s a reliable problem to lift. And you may encourage coworkers who’re extra affected to speak to your supervisor themselves.

Past that, must you report it if it actually doesn’t affect your work? My stance differs relying in your relationship together with your workforce, your boss, and your organization. In case you like your supervisor and firm — in the event you’re handled properly, you’re invested within the work, you care about seeing your workforce succeed and see this hurting them, and you recognize your supervisor places actual effort into creating the circumstances the place folks can thrive — it may make sense to have a discreet phrase together with your boss.

If these issues aren’t true … properly, I nonetheless perceive the impulse however I’d lean away from appearing on it. That’s not out of some concept that employee solidarity ought to preserve you quiet (your coworker isn’t entitled to have colleagues cowl for her when she’s claiming for herself a profit you’ve been instructed nobody can have) however just because it’s not a large number it is advisable wade into.

I’m additionally inquisitive about why your supervisor doesn’t already know what’s occurring from her personal observations (not the second job, however the lack of availability). I’m guessing she’s not an excellent efficient supervisor if she doesn’t already understand she’s obtained a workforce member who’s AWOL for weeks at a time, not responding to folks, and solely doing the naked minimal. That doesn’t give me numerous confidence that she’ll deal with it properly in the event you do tip her off (and makes me fear the entire group might be penalized with much less distant flexibility general).

It’s additionally notable that your management has already obtained complaints about this coworker however that doesn’t appear to have resulted in any modifications. What have you learnt about your management, when it comes to how assertively they tackle issues? Do they tackle issues forthrightly or enable issues to fester? (Even managers who’re conflict-avoidant will typically be moved to behave if the amount of complaints goes up. But it surely’s helpful to view this within the context of what you recognize about them in that regard.)

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