I’ve been working remotely for over a year and my company recently allowed us to begin reintegrating back to the office. The company is not making it mandatory, so any workers who want to work remotely can continue to do so. However, my manager has come up with a personal policy for his staff that requires all remote workers to call in at the start of the official office work day. He says it is to ensure the people working in person do not feel the remote workers are putting in less time than those at home. I’m annoyed by this new policy since it isn’t a company policy and all staff have been offered the exact same choice of working conditions. Should I bring this issue to human resources or just let it go?
Dear Bothered Breadwinner,
You always have the option of taking a valid complaint to human resources and allowing them to help you find resolution to the issue. However, I’m not sure that your problem is going to be considered a valid complaint.
It might be seen as a petty grievance by an employee who doesn’t want to be held accountable.
I would also like to point out that as a manager, any policy your boss enacts essentially becomes a ‘company’ policy. It sounds like you expect the CEO of the company to personally tell you the rules or you won’t follow them. Every company has managers for exactly this purpose, to install procedures and policies to keep each area of the company on track.
Your manager has every right to enact an attendance policy.
According to your own statement, this policy is being applied to every member of staff who reports to your manager – meaning he is not singling out any specific worker. When he arrives in the morning, he can see who has physically shown up to work on time. However, your manager cannot say the same for those who are working remotely and he likely worries this will eventually become a point of employee dissatisfaction in the new frontier of hybrid workplaces.
Petty complaints are a workplace staple – your letter being a perfect example.
Instead, I would look at this from a different angle. If your manager required all staff to meet in a conference room each morning for attendance and trivial work chit-chat, would you throw a tantrum and refuse to show? I would hope not because that’s how you get fired. I imagine you would stand up from your desk and enter the conference room with the rest of your coworkers, most of whom are internally rolling their eyes alongside you.
This new policy could actually be an unforeseen benefit to remote workers.
Imagine this likely scenario. Your manager is now back in the office, working hand in hand with the people you compete against for job advancement. Without a daily phone call, how long would it be before you dropped completely off your manager’s radar? However unintentionally it may be, the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ will take effect and your manager will look to those sitting directly in front of him when it comes time to promote someone. The daily phone call serves to keep your contributions to the team fresh in your manager’s mind. It also serves as a convenient avenue to remind him of your accomplishments from time to time!
Make the call or resign yourself to returning to the office.
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