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I recently have started a new job. I commute in via train a fair distance but am never late (I usually got in around 15 minutes before my contracted start time). Recently, improvement works have started taking place that have massively affected my journey and I am late well over 30 minutes. I communicated the fact I will be late for a temporary period to my manager (lets call him Bill).

Bill was understanding of my situation as other members of the team have been affected by these works also (although they are able to get in early due to not living as far as me).The trains (well, the replacement buses) do not start until a particular time where I live, and so I get the first one.

My problem is this. Other members of the company (in different teams) have aired their concerns regarding how late I am when I am around them. This takes place in communal areas such as our kitchens, where many of them become quiet when I walk in, and resume the conversation about me when I am around the corner. I am not sure how to deal with this. Being new in a company is enough to deal with, without other members of the company thinking I get special treatment.

How can I avoid the stigma associated with being late into work everyday?

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  • 11
    Why can't you get an earlier train to counteract the longer journey?
    – user44108
    Sep 4, 2018 at 13:32
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    But ... it appears that you are getting special treatment ... Is there some plan in place for you to catch up whe missing time?
    – brhans
    Sep 4, 2018 at 13:34
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    The trains (well, the replacement buses) do not start until a particular time where I live, and so I get the first one.
    – nagrom97
    Sep 4, 2018 at 13:34
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    why do you think your coworkers are talking about you? By your own admission you are new, so they are unlikely to let you into their circles initiall. also, it would be pretty boring to gossip about someone's attendance as often as you probably think it's happening.
    – bharal
    Sep 4, 2018 at 13:57

6 Answers 6

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You say you have mentioned this to your manager and he is okay with it (as long as there's no critical project deadlines to meet).

If your manager and direct teammates are okay with it, why does it matter what anyone else thinks?

As for people in communal areas, they may not even be talking about you and you are just being overly self-conscious.

As long as your manager and teammates don't have a problem with the situation, your work is not getting affected and it's temporary; It's all good.

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    "If your manager and direct teammates are okay with it, why does it matter what anyone else thinks?" If you need to work with these colleagues, it can matter a lot what they think. Plus, one of them may become your boss later...
    – sleske
    Sep 5, 2018 at 7:26
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    sure...but you can't please everyone. As long as your direct associates are happy with your work...I would consider that a job well done. As for the other colleagues, as long as my work doesn't affect theirs, it's really none of their business.
    – Paresh
    Sep 5, 2018 at 7:33
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    This answer essentially articulates in far better terms what I was thinking... "Haters gonna hate." People always think they're so witty or on the ball, but in reality, what they think has nothing to do with your work, your circumstances and the understandings you've come to broker. They're petty. Ignore it and just do the best damn job you can. Dec 14, 2018 at 12:02
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Here are few suggestions:

  • [preferred] Ask your manager to send a message to all/mention this during stand up/etc. - to inform them current work schedule has been agreed and it's OK.
  • Send the message yourself which explains the current situation. Be short and precise - you don't need to be apologetic.
  • Focus on the work and see if your relationship with the team improves over time.
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    The manager should not mention anyone by name, just say that "some employees have been affected ...", etc Sep 5, 2018 at 7:06
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    @Mawg: The whole point of the message would be to inform everyone that some people will not be in the office early in the morning, to better plan meetings etc. That only works if the names are listed. Why do you feel the names should be omitted?
    – sleske
    Sep 5, 2018 at 7:25
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    Human nature, alas. A generic "let's schedule meetings later until the train situation resolves" would probably result in less finger-pointing & accusations of favo(u)ritism Sep 5, 2018 at 7:54
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Is there any chance of car pooling?

Actually, it doesn't really matter whether there is or not.

Asking (and letting word get around), or -better yet - posting a short notice in the communal areas where gossip takes place, explaining the nature of the problem and offering to pay petrol costs ought to stop the gossip, which is the purpose of your question.

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    IMHO the best option is an "official announcement" as in tymtam's answer, but if that is not desired or not possible, this is a nice and elegant way of indirectly announcing the problem (and possibly solving it). Nifty!
    – sleske
    Sep 5, 2018 at 7:28
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    As I commented to him, I don't mind an "official announcement", so long as it does not name names, which, given human nature, will only single them out for gossip, alas Sep 5, 2018 at 7:55
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How can I avoid the stigma associated with being late into work everyday?

Especially because this is a temporary condition, due to the railway renovation works, I believe this is fitting:

  1. Make sure that it's clear to everybody that you cannot arrive any earlier as there is no available public transport alternative: you arrive at the earliest opportunity.
  2. I saw the term "preferential treatment" in another post; or, maybe it could be the perception of not having an equal share in "pulling the cart": if this is the concern of your colleagues, you could offer to stay that much longer in the afternoons, to compensate for the time. Come later, leave later: tension resolved.
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With all due respect, the correct answer is that you really cannot. Also, some places, making it up at the end of the day is fine. Others, it is never OK, no longer how late you stay. Some places will treat this issue on the basis of: if they like you or not -- Those they like, they tolerate such things from, others they will not. NOTE: In the U.S., habitual lateness is low-hanging fruit for getting fired, so watch out. Been there, done that. I thought my lateness was very well justified, others didn't agree. NOTE 2: At my current string of jobs, I've been on-time (or very close) and have gotten MUCH IMPROVED REVIEWS. This really matters in a degree that may be excessive to most people especially managers.

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Workplace gossip is not something you should ignore, in my opinion.

Do you have an answer to your work schedule change? i.e. cause of schedule, less pay for time missed, work schedule change to start later / stay later etc?

If this becoming a big issue, you or preferably your manager should mention the issue, its cause and solution to mouthiest gossiper ;)

If there is nothing balancing you coming late, it may look like you are ACTUALLY getting a preferential treatment and tempers can become a bit inflamed.

By the time you return to your regular schedule you may need to move departments.

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    I do have an answer. I make the time up on the bus, but other teams would not know that as I do not work with them. But it would be a bit out of context if I were to approach one of the individuals and come out with that explanation. What do you mean by "Move departments"?
    – nagrom97
    Sep 4, 2018 at 13:50
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    I would suggest to offer "unquestioned" answer during an informal interaction in form of complaint on the situation. if you take lunch together or something just mention the transportation schedule change and how you have to work on the bus in order to recoup the time you missing in the office. Otherwise the office "climate" can become toxic to you and in that case the only solution is leaving
    – Strader
    Sep 4, 2018 at 14:21

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