The company I work for has a contractor. This person is here since the beginning of the company, and he works for me.

He helped built the framework the company is using so he has some legitimacy.

He has his own company and probably, his own workspace but that's unsure.

His contract says he comes once a week but sometimes and often, he shows up at the office, unexpected and uninvited.

The people who are here since sometimes and even senior management found it normal but maybe they are not voicing it loudly.

From my perspective, I found odd that a contractor can come up wherever he wants to, uninvited , and grab some coffee and donuts like he was at his office.

The company is small and disorganised with a lack of explicit rules. And also the contractor has been here for some times.

The question are the following:

  • Should I mention the contractor's unexpected appearance to my manager?
  • Can my action create some kind of tension as for some of my team members, he is like a colleague of theirs?
  • 1
    what is your role in the company?
    – bharal
    Oct 29 '18 at 7:05
  • 7
    How do you know no one has invited the contractor when they show up? If senior management finds this normal, why do you think your manager doesn't already know about it? What actual problem is being caused by him being at the office more often than once a week? Is he being a distraction? Is he costing the company extra money by being there more often?
    – BSMP
    Oct 29 '18 at 7:29
  • 2
    If you are not responsible for the contractor and for everyone else resoponsible this situation seems normal, you should probably mind your own business.
    – Simon
    Oct 29 '18 at 8:28
  • 1
    What's the disadvantage to having the contractor onsite? Doesn't it help the company to have him available to answer any questions about the framework he built?
    – DaveG
    Oct 29 '18 at 12:18
  • @JoeStrazzere the contractor works for me.
    – John Legas
    Oct 30 '18 at 19:20

This depends very much on the history of the relationship.

If there is a deep level of trust between the contractor and senior management, they might well tell the contractor "do what needs to be done and send us the bill." And for small or medium companies there might not be a complicated IT requirements and tickets system, so "what needs to be done" could involve stopping by to check if everything is running smoothly. Yes, they could send mails if there are problems. But some things are easier said over a donut than over a mail thread. For every call to the support hotline, there are a hundred slightly dissatisfied users.

If you have concerns, you should mention them to your manager. Possibly in writing in a mail. Then the manager can decide to ignore it, handle it, or kick the ball up. If you have IT or security responsibility, you might inquire how those visits are arranged and billed. But make it clear that you will accept the current arrangement if management knows about it and wants it that way.

Regarding the donuts, if he does not bill travel time to the office, that is only fair.

  • Yes, it's all about history and context
    – Kilisi
    Oct 29 '18 at 11:30
  • 2
    Having worked as a contractor for a very large, multinational training and been subjected to their mandatory information security training: the OP should definitely discuss this with his line management but raise it as a question. For example, "I see Jim here a lot when I haven't seen him invited out. Is he supposed to be here that much?" This is doubly important if the contractor's presence might expose him to things that he shouldn't be exposed to.
    – Eric
    Oct 29 '18 at 15:22
  • @JoeStrazzere, because of the long history. Changing established practice is different from starting a new relationship.
    – o.m.
    Oct 31 '18 at 5:14

You didn't describe your company's physical security, but I presume this contractor isn't picking locks to get in. So either he has a badge, key, your company doesn't lock its doors or the receptionist waves him in. That means he's authorized to be there or the company doesn't care who wanders in. So this is not your concern. Now if he's wandering around wearing a "Visitor-Escort Required" badge, you might want to say something about that, but it doesn't sound like your company has that kind of security.

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