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I am a team lead and also an early riser, I am usually the first person in the office so I am already working by the time everybody else starts rolling in. Occasionally somebody on my team will not show up near their usual start time in the mornings.

I tend not to think much of it, as traffic is variable, buses run late, snow, etc... but I think to myself after about 45 minutes from not seeing or hearing from somebody that I should probably try to reach out and contact.

Proper etiquette on the employee part is to call ahead if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, but does that necessarily mean after that period I am in the right to call or text that person, even if I am not their direct manager?

The reason why I don't feel it is straightforward is because perhaps the late employee already called ahead to his direct manager, and the manager didn't pass the information along to me? It is not the employees fault in this case so maybe I am just being bothersome by calling? Perhaps it is just none of my business really as I am just a lead and not a direct manager?

NOTE: In the situation above the employee was at a client site with the manager, nobody told me. Not important to the question but just wanted to share in case anybody was interested.

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"a lead and not a direct manager" - I think I know what you mean by that, but can you be clearer? If you have responsibilities then you need to be informed. –  pdr Feb 8 '13 at 14:04
    
Is it affecting you personally (ie you had a meeting with them) or just more of a general worry? Can you just look at their calendar (outlook, google, etc)? –  enderland Feb 8 '13 at 14:09
    
@pdr I have responsibilities to help lead the team to project completion, and am treated as an authority in project concerns, but general employment issues like people showing up to work on time are not my responsibility. –  maple_shaft Feb 8 '13 at 14:10
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If you ask the direct manager to inform you if they receive a notification, you don't have to worry about part of the problem anymore. –  René Wolferink Feb 8 '13 at 14:19
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15 minutes? Hmmm that is not always feasible... where I work many people take the subway. This past week there have been multiple delays every morning (I have no idea why), with most of use being 15-20 minutes late. By the time I know for certain I'm going to be late, I'm in a subway tunnel where the is no cell phone reception, so no way to call it in. We deal with it by not scheduling meetings until 9:40 at the earliest to give everyone lots of time to get in. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Feb 8 '13 at 15:46
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3 Answers

The reason why I don't feel it is straightforward is because perhaps the late employee already called ahead to his direct manager, and the manager didn't pass the information along to me? It is not the employees fault in this case so maybe I am just being bothersome by calling? Perhaps it is just none of my business really as I am just a lead and not a direct manager?

If the employee is not directly managed by you but their absence has an impact on your work then the first thing you should do is have a word with their direct manager. This shouldn't be anything formal but something along the lines of:

Is X coming in late today? I have to talk to them about Y and need to schedule a get-together.

It needn't be as long winded as that especially if the manager knows you and X are working together on a project. This also has the benefit of letting the manager know that X is late.

It's not your place to call X. If they are late and their manager doesn't know, it's their manager's job to chase them up. All you can do is raise it with the appropriate person.

On the actual cause of the problem - you need to have a good system in place that records when people are out of the office for holidays, training or customer visits.

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Agreed. Similarly, in some workplaces a receptionist keeps track of who's in/out sick/on travel/etc, so asking that person can get you an answer more quickly than hunting down the direct manager. (That obviously only works if your workplace has the practice of "tell a central person if you're going to be late, are sick, etc". Mine does.) –  Monica Cellio Feb 8 '13 at 16:10
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Where you have responsibilities to deliver and the absent team member is part of the delivery path, it's important that you are informed when they're not in the office.

If this happened only once, I'd ask the team member and the direct line-manager to let you know next time and I'd be specific that, if it happens again, you'll be contacting your teammate to check that he hasn't overslept, for everyone's sake. Then no one can complain when you do that the next time and, if you interrupt a nice holiday lie-in, they'll certainly learn for the third time.

If it turns out that your starting the conversation causes your teammate a problem (because he'd never told his manager either) suggest that, if he had kept you informed, then there wouldn't have been a problem.

On the other hand, if you're not held responsible in any way for the performance of the employee, I'd say let it go and don't worry about it, unless the absence is blocking your work.

For the record, I currently have a lead who isn't my direct manager and I consider it more important that he knows my whereabouts than it is that my manager does. Fact is, if my manager was wondering where I was (unlikely), he'd go and ask my lead.

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It sounds like you maybe don't need to know where all of your co-workers are all the time except for planning shifts and other purposes. I would just communicate to your direct manager about the situation first and explain your concern. If your DM says to not worry about it, then try your best not to. If your DM says you have a legitimate concern, try working out a solution with your co-workers.

You don't want to step over your bounds and go around your DM, especially in a situation that involves holding other co-workers accountable.

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