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In the company I'm working for there are a few internal departments, each led by a manager answering directly to the "main" boss.

Each of them is allowed to set his own rules depending day to day running of the department. The policy of boss is "if that's ok with your manager, that's ok with me".

Now, the manager of my department is a lot less strict than others - we can be a little bit late for work (come 10 minutes late, leave 10 minutes late, seems fair to me), we have 5 minute breaks after each hour (since he believes coding for 8 hours straight is not very productive), stuff like that.

That's causing quite a bit of jealousy from employees from other deparments, where the managment is a lot more strict (including shouting).

How do I (or maybe we, as people working in that dept) respond to obvious remarks in conversations with other employees that "we have it easy", "oh, how come you are reading an article online? we dont get those 5 minutes every hour" and others like that?

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    Are these other departments also developers? What you describe isn't so much strict as draconian in my view. I'd only expect that kind of rigorous time management and professional disrespect in call centers and the like. That being said, why do you feel like you need to respond to this kind of venting? Not responding might simply be the best course of action. Are you looking for generic, non-committal responses you can use in these situations? – Lilienthal Feb 27 '17 at 7:01
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How do I (or maybe we, as people working in that dept) respond to obvious remarks in conversations with other employees that "we have it easy", "oh, how come you are reading an article online? we dont get those 5 minutes every hour" and others like that?

That depends on what you hope to accomplish in your response.

If you want all departments to be treated identically, then you should respond with something like "I see that this bothers you and I agree that it is unfair. I think you should talk to [the "main" boss] and try to convince management to standardize the way departments are treated."

I tend to believe that this sort of difference is just a matter of normal business and I would hope to stop hearing the whining. So I would respond with something like "Yeah. It's nice to be part of [my manager]'s team." and leave it at that.

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Assuming you're not first in line to hand in any 'privileges' you've been given through your own manager, there is little to do on an employee-to-employee basis.

What you could do, however, is suggest to your manager that he could spread his work philosophy around the upper echelons of the company a bit more. Not only may this have a positive effect on your relationship with said manager (never a bad thing) - it may actually improve the attitudes of the other managers.

The best part: if you ever get accused of meddling in other departments you could re-wrap the suggestion as a mere compliment towards the managing style.

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If your manager has openings, my response would be to offer to recommend the good employees for a transfer to your manager. If you know a co-worker is talented, it's a valuable thing for your manager to have the opportunity to recruit by being nicer.

The other, more stand-offish, answer is "my team measures good output differently". If pressed, your manager prioritizes flexible time and trust with employees over rigid hours and expectations on time use. Clearly he feels this looser structure is a better way to build a team. I wouldn't say you have it "easy" - I'd say that the expectations are centered around the quality of the work that you do, and not the fixed timing about when you do it.

I'd bump the responsibility back to the complainer - "it sounds like the problem is with your manager, not mine."

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It would benefit you and the entire company if you had some examples or data to show this makes your team more productive. I would focus more on long-term results. Avoiding fatigue should result in fewer errors. Of course others can remain jealous and maybe there is nothing you can do about that, but you should defend any notion that your team is not pulling your weight.

At some point, the company leadership has to look at managers of unproductive teams or teams with high turnover and try to find out what they need to be doing to catch-up to the managers of better performing teams. If they're not doing this, they have abdicated the responsibility of team management instead of delegating it.

Whoever is leading the managers is responsible for team performance regardless of how much they let managers do what they want. If what your boss is doing works better, they need to steer others in that direction. Get the word out that your team is doing things the right way. It may not change anything, but it will shut most people up.

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