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I have a small medical condition which sometimes causes me to be late. I am just starting my career fresh out of university. I don't want my employer and colleagues to get the false impression that I am coming in late because I over slept. This is not predictable and takes an additional 15-60 minutes. I will be working in the Software industry so the problem is not gigantic but some still have core working hours.

How do I disclose this information without going into to much detail and not have them perceive this as a shabby excuse?

  • employee .. you mean your employer and / or colleagues? – Sourav Ghosh Jul 11 at 8:28
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    Why would that medical condition stop you from leaving your place 15-60 minutes earlier? Then in worst case scenario you would be 45 minutes earlier at work. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 11 at 8:57
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    Question : is that medical condition acknowledge by health professional and is there some accomodation in the workplace that advised you're health professional on the matter ? Also in what country are you ? Some country don't really legally give a damn about accomodation after all and this means you will need more to handle that yourself either with coming early or diplomacy with your coworkers. – Walfrat Jul 11 at 9:35
  • Germany, so accommodation is not a problem – joachim Jul 11 at 10:05
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    @ITAlex depends on the company. Places I have worked at you turn up when you turn up and you leave when you leave. As long as your weekly hours average out to what you are contractually obligated nobody really notices. – Trotski94 Jul 11 at 13:19
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You should talk with your manager about your concern. Your manager wants to see you be successful in your role and understands the requirements of your job very well. It's better to have addressed late arrivals with your manager proactively than to have him/her confront you later. He/she will help you find ways to ensure occasionally arriving late isn't a disruption to your work or your colleagues.

Before the conversation, have in mind:

  • How often to you expect to arrive late? Don't play this down, be honest.
  • How late do you expect to be? Again, be honest.
  • How much notice can you give your manager/supervisor?
  • Do you think you can still complete your work or will this limit your performance?

Alternatively, you could discuss your question with HR or another trusted leader in the company - but odds are that eventually someone will recommend that you discuss your questions with your immediate manager.

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If you feel like it will negatively affect your performance reviews or their opinion of you then feel free to get a doctors note and talk to hr about it. They might ask if you need any other assistance (it might be good to speak up about anything else you might need help with). Explain the situation and they will talk to your boss about it and he should make the exception on behalf. After all, you are still making the best effect to come in. If you try to make up for the time you lose after hours (so staying behind an extra 15-60 minutes) could also improve the opinion of your peers as you are making up the time. If you feel that their opinion changes negativity after hr speaks to them, return to hr and explain and they will help you with changing that.

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    Additionally, in a flexible but core hours environment, set your normal, planned working hours to begin over an hour before the start of the core. That way, if you are "late" relative to plan, you will still be there for the core hours. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 11 at 8:40
  • I have been trying for years to get my sleeping schedule to adjust but I am an absolute night person so this seemed rather hard. – user106716 Jul 11 at 8:46
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    @user106716 There are many many night owls who have to get up and start the day earlier than they would prefer, and that get no special consideration. – Gregory Currie Jul 11 at 9:12
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    @GregoryCurrie considering that the user say that he has a "medical condition" I'd consider that this is likely a condition acknowledged by a professional and as such, I'd avoid such comments. – Walfrat Jul 11 at 9:19
  • I never suggested that they do not have a medical condition. – Gregory Currie Jul 11 at 23:33
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Be upfront.

I recently broke my femur (do not do this -- it isn't fun) and I have physical therapy twice a week and I've had issues being late a few times because recovering from a broken femur just plain sucks.

That said, being a "night owl" may not be the best medical condition to bring to HR. Having been a "night owl" I can tell you it can be fixed. And if I were an HR person, I'd expect something more than "I'm a night owl and can't adjust" as a medical reason.

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    I don't believe being a "night owl" is the actual medical condition in question. – Gregory Currie Jul 11 at 23:34
  • I think the OP has to clarify that. A lot of folks in the development world are extreme night owls, but "I prefer moon phase to sun phase" isn't a medical condition. I recently changed "phases" and it was very painful for a short bit. – Julie in Austin Jul 11 at 23:37
  • I agree with you :) Note a comment of mine in another answer. – Gregory Currie Jul 11 at 23:39
  • Ah, I upvoted your comment in that answer! I've been a dev for almost 40 years, and it seems most devs are "moon phase". Where I work now most of us start work around ... 7AM. Some at 6:30AM. I used to start at ... 10AM at job[-1]. – Julie in Austin Jul 11 at 23:50

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