Let me explain my team hierarchy and policy considering office-time, before I ask the question.

I work in the software engineering industry. We have a very simple hierarchy: Manager, I will call M. He drives the business and distribute tasks. Technical Supervisor, I will call S. I work with him so closely on technical decisions and difficulties. Then Me.

We have flexible working hours but no time-tracking techniques. It's totally up to us, but manager M advises to be on-site before 10 AM.

Supervisor S comes usually between 12 PM and 1 PM, whereas I prefer to come in as early as 8:30 AM, in order to leave around 4:30 PM.

So me and S - who is also overloaded - have little time in common to discuss technical issues.

How do I convince S that I really don't like staying after-hours because he comes in late, without going to M and complaining?

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    Is there any reason why you can't communicate by email? Why is there a need to have direct communication so much? – Snow Aug 8 at 7:11
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    "little time in common" - from what you've said you appear to have three or more hours a day when you're both in, is this not enough time to discuss technical issues? – AakashM Aug 8 at 9:35
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    @WendyG which sounds reasonable if M is the boss of both of them and advises to be on-site before 10AM. – RemcoGerlich Aug 8 at 13:00
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    It's unclear from the question, but a lot of answers presume OP is the one wanting extended communication. Is "S" the one initiating discussions that extend over your preferred leaving time, or do you feel you're missing out on discussion time you'd like to have? – Alex Aug 8 at 16:14
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    This question needs more information - OP please provide it. Are you staying late because you need more time with S? Or is S asking you to stay late because they feel the overlap is necessary/don't trust you to do work unsupervised? – Sandy Gifford Aug 8 at 18:15

So me and S - who is also overloaded - have little time in common to discuss technical issues.

How to convince S that I really don't like staying after-hours because he comes late - without going to M complaining about that - in a moderate way?

By your own account, you have at least 3.5 hours (and usually more) to discuss technical issues.

Rather than complaining to M or S about that and coming across as either a whiner, tattletale, or both, learn to use your 3.5 to 4.5 hours effectively. That should be more than enough time.

Schedule all of your technical discussion meetings between 1:00 and 4:00.

From your writing, it seems that you really want M to pressure S to come in by 10:00. And perhaps you think you can force the issue. Don't do that. The arrival time is between M and S, not you.

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    Although I agree with this answer, I'll add a minor query point that M (when deciding what S can do) may not have all the information required to determine whether S turning up so late is actually practical. As such, if there is a problem, to some degree, it may be the OP's business to in some fashion make this information available. Though I agree that in this specific case there doesn't seem to be much room for detecting a problem. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 8 at 13:32
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    I would throw in that the idea of a "Technical Supervisor" is a person who ensures things are going in the right direction on the technical side. OP shouldn't be bombarding them with problems all day everyday - that's called a rubber duck - or google. – UKMonkey Aug 8 at 14:17
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    I'd also like to add that asynchronous communication is a technique that OP could use to mitigate a lot of issues that arise when exchanging valuable information with busy people. – Steve Aug 8 at 21:19
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    It is entirely possible that S is coming in / finishing late because there are fewer distractions at the end of the day so he can get his own work done. To be blunt, the restricted time window between OP and S might be by design. – Joe Stevens Aug 9 at 2:32

I'm going to disagree with many of the answer here. I'm going to suggest that perhaps S is coming in late precisely because you (and any other people around him) want to talk with him continually. This would interrupt his work and cause him to become even more overloaded. Shifting his time outside normal business hours may give him dedicated time where he can think and work. Perhaps if you came in late, he might come in early.

One option is to generate requirements/design documents with him on a periodic and infrequent basis and then go off and do all of the things on your list. There may well be decisions you have to make. One issue you can raise with S is how he wants you to deal with these. One possibility I strongly encourage is to have you be try to make those calls and email S documenting the situation and the decision (as short as possible so that S might read it, even outside of business hours). You will be wrong sometimes, and that might occasionally involve wasted work. Only if you start getting negative feedback (and if told you were wrong, asking S how S wants to handle this in the future is wise to head this off), and especially negative feedback from third parties like M, should you go to S or M and try to work out an alternate way to handle this issue. Doing this, learning from mistakes, will make you a better employee and will make S more productive. Win-win.

  • I was on the OPs shoes in the past, and my supervisor arrived late because he left his child at school and was very disogarnized. Then wanted me to stay late also to make the day count. On the other hand, I have had other supervisors who whom I could work with ok. – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 9 at 2:02

As pointed out, the timing is between M and S, don't force that issues. If you must raise it, do it at your performance review.

How to work with what you've got now..... be pro-active.

11:30am : Email S with any pending issues you need to discus with them. That will now be one of the fist things they see when they hit the office.

S Arrival + 30 to 60 minutes: Follow up on the earlier email if the discussions haven't already taken place.

3 - 3:30pm: Approach S with any issues you have to discuss or ask them if there is anything they need to discuss with you, letting them know you'll be leaving at 4:30.

4:25pm: Tell S to email you any issues that will need your attention in the morning.

Adjust the timings as needed. Communicate via email, chat or in person

Basically head off any timing problems before they become problems. In situations like this, routine can be a good thing.

I was in your shoes in the past. I arrived early, my team lead arrived late, and he liked to arrange meetings for the middle-end of his day.

Partly because he was not a very organized persorn, partly because he did not agree the organization should allow people to leave so "early". While the organization ditacted we could leave at 0430PM, he wanted several of us to leave at least at 0600PM.

It is not your fault your technical supervisor has a very different schedule at the end of the day.

What you have got to arrange is a compromise, and define core hours of presence at the office where attending meetings is mandatory.

After those hours, define email as the main method of communication.

I would also look whether the problems you are feeling might be based on a lack of efficient project management or issues of your manager with the de facto established corporate culture.

An old strategy of mine that I used with several bosses that tended to write emails at the end of the day, was logging at the end of my night, and at least aknowledging the emails.

You could speak with your supervisor and emphasise the importance of meeting during business hours, what if you were needing to deal with external suppliers, customers or just general stakeholders who may not stay past the usual 4.30-5pm.

It would be more common for people to be starting work before 12-1 and if decisions need input from anyone else, I.e your manager, what would the supervisor usually do once everyone has gone home ?

on-site before 10AM

So basically you shouldn't have to stay late as long as you're doing your normal hours.

Blunt Option

Say if he needs you then you'll be in from 8:30am and if not see you when you get in as i'll be shooting off at 4:30pm ish

Other Option

Say that you have other priorities after work hence why you come in early so that you can get away early to get other things done.

EDIT: If you are needing S, then you can simply state ask for what you want. Try

Would it be possible for you to get in earlier as I need to discuss technical issues but I need to shoot off at 4:30pm to get stuff done at home

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    sounds like OP needs S, not other way around – bharal Aug 8 at 9:02
  • @bharal I've updated ;) – Twyxz Aug 8 at 9:09
  • "I'll be in my office around 1 PM tomorrow, you can drop in to discuss the technical issues then" – eirikdaude Aug 9 at 11:15

If M says that everyone should be in by 10, then coming in at 12-1pm is not acceptable. But there are ways to handle it and ways not to handle it.

For example, if you go to M and say "S is coming in late every day, you should probably do something about that" is telling M how to do his job, from 2 levels of granularity his junior. You don't want to do this.

If you go to M and say something like "did you know S is coming to work 2-3 hours late?", that comes off as being a tattle-tale and trying to make S look bad for no reason. Once again, not what you want to do.

What you should do is to say to M exactly what you said here: You need to have technical discussions concerning your work with S during business hours, so you need S to be available. This way, you make it an issue of productivity, not people. It's not "S is doing something bad and I want him to stop" or "S is actively impeding my work and needs to fix his behaviour", it's "In order to do my work, I need a resource, and my resource is unavailable", and managers are there to make sure their subordinates get the resources they need.

Be prepared that you might not have all the information; perhaps S lives 3 hours away and working 10-6 would require waking up at 5am and going to bed at almost midnight. Perhaps S has other commitments in the morning, like looking after a family member or something like that. It's possible that it's not possible for S to come in earlier to help you out, but mentioning this to M isn't the worst idea, although the #1 most important thing to remember is to make the issue about process, not people; if you make it about people you are sure to lose.

Firstly a question:

Is S over worked because

  1. They come in late everyday and so they don't have enough face to face time with the rest of the company to get work done?

  2. They have too much to do and so come in late to allow them to finish it when everyone is gone?

If 1, then you need to do your work as best you can - if you can't proceed, you need to let S know you can't proceed (if they are there you could let them know in person, if they aren't there then use a suitable system - likely email). If work ends up being late, questions will be asked and you'll have proof you were waiting on S and this caused delays.

If 2, then see if you can help in anyway by pulling some work load away from S, try to minimise the amount of work you have which is waiting on S's input. Again, if there's delays you'll be able to show you've tried to continue working anyway but you can't proceed due to waiting on S.

As S is your senior, you may find you're required to work closer hours to what hours S does. This'll depend on contracts and such too, so showing you've tried to adjust your own workflow to allow you to work maybe helpful in this situation.

Eitherway, the 'answer' to this problem is you either change your own hours, S changes their hours, or you change your workflow to match the 3.5hrs you and S share. If S is supporting a number of people and not just yourself, see if they can share with you how they go about getting progress on things which are waiting on S.

Other answers have a good strategy for coping with your situation.
You don't need to cope well, you need to change something.

I have been in this situation... it didn't end well for me; keep reading if you want to know the advice I wish I'd been given.

What your manager probably said:
"Put in your hours every day and we are flexible about when you work them.
It is probably best if you're on-site by ten."

What your manager probably meant:
"We have flexible hours here.
But seriously people... you need to get in by ten; this is a business, not your hobby."

What you appear to have heard:
"Figure out when you want to leave, come in eight hours before that, and all is well."

Your best 'road to happiness' is to work until at least 6.
Stop being the first one to leave every day.
It doesn't sound like you think that is reasonable - and maybe it isn't reasonable... it is, however, your best shot at staying there.

What needs to change is you. Work later or work on finding a new job.
Software is a sellers market in most places around the world these days if you have experience and transferrable skills.

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    This doesn't make sense. The OP is doing exactly what the manager meant - he's coming in by ten. He's not coming in at 2am and leaving at 10am, he's coming in about an hour before 10am. So he's doing exactly what his manager has requested. – DaveG Aug 9 at 14:27
  • @DaveG Yes, he is doing what the Manager said - but OP's request is how to change Supervisor's hours without consequences. OP's job rating and happiness will come more from S than from M. Unless M is already upset that S is coming in later than M wishes, this is likely a losing battle for OP. I tried the same battle years ago, looking back I regard it as a waste of my time. Whether you like my advice or not, my advice to OP is: change your hours or look for something else. You seem to regard this as 'not fair' and you're right... it isn't, but that's how life is sometimes. – J. Chris Compton Aug 10 at 14:27

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