Over the last few weeks, our manager (who has the only keys to the office) has been arriving to work for 9:25 when our business hours start at 9:30. She hasn't been late every day but it has been a few times. On these occasions, the staff who have been on time have been stood in the rain waiting for the manager to show up and open the office.

Most of the staff can only arrive in 30-minute intervals due to public transport and so can either get to work 20 minutes early or 10 minutes late every day, and there is nowhere nearby to stand and shelter from the weather. What is the best course of action here? And how long before working hours start should the office be open?

Edit: Thank you for your replies. To answer some of the replies from you guys:

  • I am not the manager, I am a lowly employee! The owner of the company is in for about 1 hour of the year and it is a running conversation that he doesn't care for the company too much. He leaves the running of the business to the manager.
  • The manager drives to work and so doesn't have to deal with the public transport. They also live in roughly the same area as a few of the staff who take the same roads and so we are aware when the traffic is bad.
  • Neither the manager or the owner wants another keyholder. Also, I assume that the owner also has a key as well as the manager, but as stated, he's never in.
  • The staff do have coats and umbrellas! Not enough when the weather is horrendous.
  • It doesn't take long for staff to be ready. About 5 mins - turn on computers and make a brew. While I appreciate that the manager wouldn't need to be at work until 5 minutes before we start for this reason, surely its better to come in 20 minutes earlier and have happy, dry staff!

Thanks all!

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    Has the manager ever explained why she is routinely running late? Is she at the mercy of the same public transport as your colleagues? – user34587 Aug 29 '18 at 12:24
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    Do you have a solution in mind that doesn't involve the manager being on time or early, every time? If they're struggling to open early, asking them to open 30 minutes earlier doesn't sound like a fool proof plan to me. – Edwin Buck Aug 29 '18 at 15:06
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    What is the plan when the only-key-holding-manager gets sick or something? – Brian Leishman Aug 29 '18 at 16:38
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    Can an awning and/or small enclosure be built around the entrance? This will at least stop the wind and rain. – cybernard Aug 29 '18 at 18:48
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    Do you actually have a firm plan in place for how to approach your manager with this issue, or is this more of a hypothetical? Because the more important question seems to be how to bring this up (which would involve asking your manager to presumably work longer and wake up earlier, or proposing another keyholder, the idea of which it appears they already rejected). – Bernhard Barker Aug 29 '18 at 19:44

Ask your manager if someone else who wants to start earlier can be a key-holder.

This might not be possible (Manager might want to be the only key-holder, might be building regulations, etc.), but at least asking is a tactful way of reminding the manager that people want to get set up in less than 5 minutes at the start of the day.

See where that conversation leads to.

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    And if the manager does want to be the only key-holder, then I would follow up to ask if you could be allowed to start (and end) 10 minutes late. 10 minutes is really not a long time, especially if the manager is often late herself. – David K Aug 29 '18 at 12:00

What is the best course of action here?

Have more than one person carry keys to the office door. Perhaps an Assistant Manager.

And how long before working hours start should the office be open?

It depends on the nature of the business, but for many retail operations 30 minutes sounds like a reasonable time. When I worked in retail, we opened the doors about 30 minutes early so that we could punch in, get the place cleaned up, get the cash register ready, etc.

But all of this is completely up to the owner (or the Manager, if that responsibility has been delegated). If they choose not to open the door earlier, it might make sense to find a nearby open shop that will let you inside for a few minutes when the weather is bad.

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    "At least 30 minutes." Based on what? Why not 15 minutes, or an hour? – Andy Aug 29 '18 at 14:41
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    @Andy: I'm going with "Most of the staff can only arrive in 30-minute intervals due to public transport". There's probably some prep work to do in the morning, but we don't know enough about that to say. – David Thornley Aug 29 '18 at 15:17
  • @DavidThornley I don't see how that is the problem of the person opening the door though. – Andy Aug 29 '18 at 15:18
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    @Andy It's just like basic human decency to think about things like bus schedules when your employees rely on them. || "Boss, most of us arrive at 9:12 because of the bus schedule, can we get in and out of the rain?" "No, sucks to suck, buy a car." Is that really a nice person to work for? – Azor Ahai -- he him Aug 29 '18 at 17:52
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    Perhaps an Assistant Manager or perhaps Assistant to the Manager? – user1717828 Aug 30 '18 at 0:53

Without knowing the specifics of the business, I would suggest the door opener get there at least 30 mins early.

To be fair that is completely made up amount of time, but in all businesses I run if the business opens at 9:30 then I expect the staff to be ready to go 100% at 9:30. This means they need some time to prepare. 30 mins. has always served me well. Some people take longer than others, others want to "unwind". For example, I always liked to get to work 20 mins early so I could get a drink, unwind, say good morning, and be ready to go at 9:30.

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I'm posting David K's comment as an answer.

If the manager has flexible hours (read: time of arrival), if he won't give you an official opening time for the office and also won't allow another key (holder), then ask if arriving 10 minutes late is okay considering all the public transport trouble that most of the staff is facing.

Beware that 9:25 might be a decent opening time and that the staff might be asked to be up and ready at that specific time, no matter how early they actually arrive.

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