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Original post from Jan 2016: I'm a contracts manager for a public biopharmaceutical company. We do not have a work-from-home policy absent inclement weather. I'm not a lawyer by training but spend most of my time redlining contracts and report to our company's GC.

Often, I do not arrive to the office until 10 AM and typically leave between 4 and 7 PM. Sometimes I do not come into the office at all. I believe that I make up for this in the evening or when high profile issues consume weekends, evenings, and typically displace my typical work en-masse (such instances, while important, are not frequent).

Our office was recently renovated and we now have an open office plan. As such, colleagues can chart my comings and goings. Someone, at about my level (but in another department) commented upon my departure today (upon an early 4:00 PM goodbye from me) indicating that he was "jealous" and questioned how "I could actually get work done at home." I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist the over-confident, smart ass reply, and I can now imagine this situation escalating. You won't be surprised to hear that this is the one person in the company I've butted heads with and is, in my estimation, a commsumate mall cop.I've gotten comments here and there for months but was more humble in reply in a one-on-one setting.

My boss is more or less aware of my schedule but is more than satisfied with my output. We have a new HR head honcho, and this may sound paranoid, but what if this issue becomes topical and someone confronts me? I don't think my boss would be comfortable doing that but HR sure would. Should I proactively address this and attempt to formalize my arrangement? I don't need the benefits and, from my perspective, could just as easily be a contractor or part-time employee. In spite of my workload, I do not expect promotion (mostly owing to my lackluster office face-time and am OK with that...mostly).

I have all sorts of snarky comments at the ready but appreciate that I am the type that would cut off my nose to spite my face.


Two year update to above post: The new HR VP did the opposite of what I feared and implemented a company-wide flex work policy, even spelled out we should leave at noon on Fridays and not schedule meetings on Fridays.

The colleagues who seemed to resent my comings and goings (or who I imagined as much) were the same ones who continued to put in their hours from cubeland regardless.

My schedule was such that it often worked out better for me to stay in the office through the late afternoon on Fridays 30-50% of the time. Here also, the higher ups and mid-levels who stuck around still complained, "Oh, it must be nice that so-and-so's workload is such that they can take Friday off." There was some truth to that, but I think a lot was attitude.

Me? I quit. We file jointly and paid more in income tax than what my low six figure salary amounted to. I was not advancing (and didn't seem to care from my 2016 comments), but seeing people in mktg get a promotion or two during the same tenure grated on me as much as I hated to admit it.

Previous to this position, I'd had ambitious bosses focused on title, turf, board face-time, budget increases for more dept travel and resources, etc. While sometimes annoying, I now appreciate how they looked after my career, got me in front of the right people, teed up successes.

My last boss had many outstanding qualities, but none of this sort. I think she was too upset about her own lack of advancement (during a much longer tenure) than to worry about mine. Plus, I still try to be the corporate equivalent of the cool kid who doesn't care. Immature, I know.

If what I wanted was career advancement, I indeed should have been on-site as much as possible to identify projects and opportunities that might lead to another role. I should have complained about the workload sooner, because when I finally did, the person hired over my boss a few months earlier, actually did something about it and created new positions. With less on my plate and more face-time, I might have worked my way into something better. Who knows...

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    with the edit the question is unreadable now.. – arved Jan 19 '18 at 10:13
  • Agreed, you should self answer, not mess up your question. – mxyzplk Jan 26 '18 at 10:46
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I would think this will escalate now that you have an open office plan. It's been bought to peoples attention and jealousy will prevail. Best to keep your head down until they lose interest.

You may feel that your work is not suffering, but it's probably not the perception colleagues will have while they drudge through their 8 hours. However I don't think it's something you should worry unduly about at this point, it may become an issue in the future. But until HR actually takes you to task (in which case you can plead your case) you will only exacerbate the issue if you mention it.

One thing NOT to do is express your snarky comments out loud. Stay good natured and don't give people a reason to bite you. The majority of people couldn't care less unless they perceive you as someone who deserves a bite.

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    I didn't thank you at the time, but I appreciated the feedback. Now that a few years have passed and I can consider this from a different vantage point, you were absolutely correct about the open office plan and my snarky comments. – bdc Jan 18 '18 at 20:23
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Either this isn't a problem, or your boss will be told to tell you that there's been a policy change. Either way, if you had your manager's approval (preferably explicit) you should be fine. If it was only implicit and he's an ass he could leave you to take the blame, but hopefully won't.

Other folks' envy is their problem and the management's, not yours.

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    (And as has been noed elsewhere, telecommuting can be a drag on your career unless you actively keep yourself in the loop. I know I missed opportunities because I wasn't hearing the hallway conversations. I[ve also been in depts where the telecommuters are the onex told to take annoying business trips "since you're remote anyway". The grass is always browner than people expect. – keshlam Jan 29 '16 at 15:27
  • Apologies for not thanking you at the time, but this feedback was appreciated and helpful. – bdc Jan 18 '18 at 20:18
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The ONLY people you should worry about pleasing in this case are your boss and those above him. You might want to have a sit-down with him to discuss the situation, if for no other reason than to give him a heads-up that the office busybody may be going to raise a stink and to confirm that your work schedule is OK. "Manager's discretion" overrides HR policy in a lot of cases.

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    Absolutely consult with your boss. Bosses hate to blindsided with a problem from above or HR that the subordinate never mentioned. Make sure your work schedule is known and approved by him and if he says not to work at home, then don't. The he is aware more or less comment makes me concerned that he did not actually give you permission to do this which is cause for disciplinary action if someone complains. Managers have to balance the needs of an individual against the upset his actions cause through the organization. If no one else can work at home, you are likely very poorly perceived.. – HLGEM Jan 29 '16 at 14:45

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