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I am currently on a tiny software team of four people. We work very standard work hours and over time is not an option. Two of us get in at 7 and leave at 4, the other two team members get in at 8 and leave at 5. Our supervisor has gotten into the habit of of scheduling meetings to sync up/meeting with stakeholders/ etc. around 4/4:30. We have expressed that this is not convenient for our commutes and messes up our schedules, even stakeholders themselves have mentioned that the time is not convenient. Yet, our supervisor continues to schedule these late work day meetings that often run over the "scheduled" meeting length. How do I approach this issue without getting on my supervisors bad side and at the same time stand up for myself and my work hours which I thought I signed up for. Any advice is appreciated.

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    Does your calendar software have a "suggest new time" feature? Can you just use that to propose a time that works? – dwizum Mar 10 at 15:16
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    Unfortunately we have suggested new times to the supervisor, but what it seems to come down to convenience for him/her not the rest of the group. A frustrating example is literally from yesterday when we had a meeting scheduled for 3:00 and we hear him/her next door laughing until 3:30 and waltzing into our meeting late. – Nick Powers Mar 10 at 15:21
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    actually starting at 7 is an very early start - also it sounds like your salaried so you don't "sign up" for a set number of hours per week. How often are tease meetings ? – Neuromancer Mar 10 at 15:28
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    This arrival/departure time is best for my commute which is drastically effected by a one hour change – Nick Powers Mar 10 at 16:07
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    Things you need to clarify in order for your question to be answerable: 1. Are you hourly or salary? 2. Is your 7-4 a set schedule, and has it been agreed to by this supervisor? 3. What does "over time is not an option" mean? Please edit this information (along with the additional information you've provided below in various comments) into your question so that the question itself is reasonably complete. – Alex M Mar 11 at 0:01
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It sounds like you've already taken reasonable steps to notify your supervisor, and there's consensus among other participants that the timing is bad. It's hard to give a single "always correct" answer to this question, since your qualification that you don't want to upset your supervisor means that the answer needs to be based on what upsets your supervisor, which none of us can really know for sure. Ultimately, like with many workplace conflicts, you will need to decide how hard to push this based on how important it is to you.

Consider the following options:

  • Use a "Propose new time" feature in your calendaring software to suggest a new time, which works for everyone. Talk to other participants and suggest that they do the same, maybe even proposing the same time. This should make the message clear.
  • Propose a fixed, standard weekly meeting to handle these discussions. Maybe you can all meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 PM. Fixing the schedule ahead of time removes the element of surprise, and gives you the chance to negotiate once, instead of every time this happens.
  • Ask your supervisor why they schedule the meetings at these times. There may be a significant reason which you're not aware of. If so, you can respond appropriately, perhaps according to the next bullet:
  • Ask your supervisor to clarify if these meetings are intended to signal a change in the standard working hours. Ask for clarification if there will even be standard working hours going forwards, since these meetings seem to indicate that the "standard" can be changed at will. Depending on your supervisor's response, you can go forward appropriately.
  • In a comment, you mentioned that sometimes your boss shows up late to meetings, which inherently changes the time they were supposed to start at. If you're feeling brave, and your boss doesn't show up, you can all just "call off" the meeting, go back to your desks, and send a new invite at a time that's more convenient.
  • As an alternative to the prior bullet, if your boss isn't there at the beginning of the meeting, you can start the meeting "as usual" and just carry on. If your boss needs information or wishes to participate, but they come in late, you can let them know that they can schedule a follow up or take other appropriate action - them being late doesn't have to mean that you all sit and wait, and then the meeting is inadvertently shifted later.
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    This is probably highly context dependent but in my case, if the boss is late for our weekly roundup meeting, the meeting just starts without him. Everybody summarizes what he/she did over the week and sometime the boss only comes in when we are halfway through. He is happy with that and wants us to start without him. The meeting is not for him (at least not primarily) but for all of us. – quarague Mar 10 at 15:42
  • That's a good example, I'll edit something in to reflect that. For better or worse, I think everything about this question is highly context-specific. – dwizum Mar 10 at 15:43
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If you absolutely cannot attend a meeting at a proposed time then don't be afraid to decline the meeting invitation. If your supervisor asks about it, make sure that you have a better reason than "it is not convenient".

Depending on how far in advance these meetings are scheduled, what I would do is come in to the office at 8 AM instead of 7 AM on the days that 4 PM meetings are scheduled. This way you are still working your standard hours instead of staying extra hours unpaid.

Another option would be for you to call in to the meetings instead of attending in person.

If your supervisor is not flexible enough to allow for any of these options, then I would seriously consider looking for a new company to work for.

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  • It sounds like the OP has optimized their start and finish times to match the best options for their commute. Which means that if they change the work hours they will suffer from a sub-optimal commute. – Peter M Mar 10 at 15:48
  • It seems very "1st world problem" but that one hour change has a huge effect on my commute. Other than that I completely agree and appreciate all you responded. – Nick Powers Mar 10 at 15:48
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    A company policy against overtime is a pretty big hammer to wield here. – StackOverthrow Mar 10 at 16:59
  • @NickPowers It doesn't even need to be a full hour. I've personally experienced significant commute time differences with only a 5-10 minute shift of when I leave work. – alroc Mar 10 at 18:32
  • Thank you alroc for proving my point! – Nick Powers Mar 10 at 19:27

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