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I've been working from home once a week for about a year now.

Just this week, my supervisor asked me to send in a progress report on the days that I work from home.

The only two people consistently working from home are my direct supervisor and I. Am I able to ask if this is now a new company practice?

I'm specifically concerned if they think I'm slacking off during my work-from-home days. Should I confront them with that instead?


Resolution :

I followed everyone's advice and asked my direct supervisor about it. Apparently, it really was just nothing. For the past year, my work from home was actually "unofficial". My team leader/boss allowed me to do so, but since I was a contractor, I didn't have to go through the usual paperwork. A month ago, I've been made permanent, so in order to go through with my work from home days, I had to do the paperwork.

Basically, the progress reports are part of the requirement of the "official" work from home days in our company.

Thanks everyone!

  • Easy confirm you are not slacking off via the progress report – paparazzo Sep 17 '15 at 13:46
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Am I able to ask if this is now a new company practice?

Certainly. Everyone needs to understand changes to company practices, so it's reasonable to ask if you are seeing one.

I'm specifically concerned if they think I'm slacking off during my work-from-home days. Should I confront them with that instead?

Yes. You should address your real concerns head-on.

If you suspect that they do indeed think you are slacking off, talk privately to your boss about it. Something like "Hey boss. I'm concerned that this request for daily progress reports means that you don't think I'm working hard enough remotely. Can we talk about that?"

Before the discussion, think hard about why they might come to this conclusion. Are you working as hard from home as you are when in the office? Are you attending all the required meetings remotely? Are you answering inquiries promptly? etc, etc.

If this just happened after a year of working remotely without incident, what changed recently?

It's probably nothing. But a quick discussion should help you get to the bottom of it, and to correct any misunderstanding if necessary.

  • I emailed my direct supervisor to address my concerns. Thanks! I'll update my question once I get a response :) – Zaenille Sep 18 '15 at 1:07
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It's reasonable to ask whether this is a general policy or if they have a specific concern about your work. They may or may not answer, but you can and probably should ask.

It isn't reasonable to try to find out exactly who else they are or are not investigating. That would be invasion of privacy, and frankly it's irrelevant; what you need to know is how to handle their interest in you.

Of course if you want to privately announce the situation to some of your co-workers, and see if they have opinions, you're free to do so, though Manglement would probably prefer you didn't and they may get on your case for sabotaging the mood of the department. Calculated gamble; be careful and choose wisely.

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I would suggest that there may be less sinister reasons for the interest in time tracking. Perhaps they are checking productivity on those days to see if there is value in you or other staff working more hours remotely.

As far as tracking your tasks during those days, I don't have any issue with my manager wanting to check my progress on any day. If you are in the office, the manager can just wander over to your desk and ask how you are progressing. Besides, writing a brief report is no different to me from having a daily standup to discuss what you did, what you will do and any roadblocks.

But really, if you're more (or less) productive at home, then it will become apparent pretty quickly how effective it is as a productivity model :)

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