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I would like to receive feedback on whether I should ask my employer if I can use the office over the weekend. Context includes that this is a very small engineering office of about 5 employees. My intent, as a new hire, is to use this time to do additional reading and pursue software tutorials to improve my productivity at work during the week.

I have reason to believe my boss may use the office over the weekend as well. His presence will immediately imply that he can have me do billable work. This will have the opposite effect of what I am trying to achieve since if I am working I cannot be pursuing continuing education.

Therefore if I ask his permission, he may say yes but if he is also here that means I will be working over the weekend.

If I don't tell him, then I could come in in the weekend, but if he shows up he will be surprised that I am here and may have me do additional work.

I would like to ask from an ethical and professional standpoint, given my current dilemma, is it wise to ask permission? Or is it better to not ask permission and run the risk of working over the weekend?

The only reason I'm worried is I don't want to work over the weekend. I believe my boss will be favorable to the idea of me coming in in the weekend.

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    Is there a reason you can't read or peruse the tutorials at home? – Herb Wolfe Mar 19 '16 at 0:33
  • My current living situation is not conducive to calm and productive study. It is a noisy house with limited accomodations (weak wireless signal), no printer/scanner, damp uncomfortable room, small desk. Also I live with the landlord who is not a studious person at all – user32882 Mar 19 '16 at 0:36
  • Im in a highly technical field that requires the use of online resources and research. I use drafting software to make my own representations of difficult geometries and then print out these geometries for reference and markup. My work involves programming and going into the depths of computer algorithms to uncover underlying finite element concepts. This is not something a park can fix. I need a desk and technology. – user32882 Mar 19 '16 at 1:28
  • You have access except for Sundays. What is wrong with reading a book for 45mins to get to the library. – Ed Heal Mar 19 '16 at 1:34
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    You can ask. Probably not a good idea. – Ed Heal Mar 19 '16 at 1:40
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With any sane boss, asking should be no problem. After all, you are proposing to do something free of charge that would benefit the company. What would be the outcome?

Where I work, there are increasing security obstacles depending on the time. Leaving up to 8pm is just fine, after that you need to operate the alarms in the office. Same if you try to enter on the weekend, so there might be a practical problem. Your boss would know.

So possible outcomes: No, the boss doesn't want you to be there on the weekend. No, there are practical difficulties with you coming in on the weekend. Not on the weekend, but you can stay late after you finish work. Or come early before work starts. Yes, but only on weekends and at the times where someone else is there for security reasons. Or just yes.

I would most definitely not turn up unannounced on a weekend. Worst case, you study on your own on a weekend in the office. Then some time in the week it is found that things have gone missing in the office, and then it is found that you were there unsupervised on the weekend. That would be some trouble. Even just being found out would quite possible get you into bad trouble.

PS. If you are there on a weekend, and then you are made to work instead of studying, I would expect you to get paid for every hour worked, so it wouldn't quite achieve what you wanted, but at least it should put money in your pocket.

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You should definitely ask. If I was your boss though, I wouldn't be too keen on the idea since you'd be using my resources for something I would normally expect people to do on their own. But depending on your relationship with your boss you might be ok.

In terms of working on the weekend, this shouldn't be a problem if your boss is aware and has approved what you're doing. But again, that's a judgement call. I don't know your boss so couldn't tell you definitively.

As a new hire you're basically pushing your luck, until you're settled it's not normally a great idea to be asking for anything like this. It's best to sort out your own personal life without involving your work or boss. I am mostly self-educated and lived in places where you couldn't concentrate and/or didn't want to tell the people I was with that I was studying. I found that libraries were the best solution.

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    "I am mostly self-educated and lived in places where you couldn't concentrate and/or didn't want to tell the people I was with that I was studying" this is exactly my situation. I have explored the library option but there are two issues with it 1) public libraries in my city are all completely closed on Sundays 2)University libraries call for extremely expensive parking, upwards of $26 a day, and public transportation is not an option (15 minute trip becomes 1 hour trip) – user32882 Mar 19 '16 at 1:02
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    I went by bicycle it was around 40km, cost me nothing, if you're committed, you find a way. With the internet these days though, you could just go sit under a tree at the park or something. In my day internet wasn't an issue. I needed the library for reference materials. – Kilisi Mar 19 '16 at 1:10
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This really depends on the company culture. Maybe first ask your colleagues if they have done something like this before.

Definitely ask, because some companies have a guard service on weekends that checks if everything is alright.

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Using the office without the boss's prior permission would be a mistake. You might even be suspected of using studying as a cover for stealing from the office.

Once you take that option off the table, there does not seem to be much downside to asking. Accept refusal graciously.

If you do get permission, make a very clear distinction between working and studying. Do not have any work materials out on your desk at the weekend. Do not have any of your study materials out during working hours.

If your boss pushes you to work at the weekend, find somewhere else to study.

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