So a little bit about my situation:

My company is in the process of relocation. I will be relocating as well. Due to this, workload has cut down significantly to the point where i am reading books my boss provided to me.

The books are subject material related to my career and I am reading while at work when there is nothing to do so I can better prepare myself for whats ahead and to get a better grasp at things I have yet to understand.

My question is: Despite working hours, is this acceptable for me to do? Or is this something I should save for off-hours?

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    what possible reason could it not be acceptable? – Old_Lamplighter Jul 21 '17 at 19:12
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    Well not sure... Just dont want my boss or coworkers to think I'm slacking off.. All in all, I am asking from the perception of a manager or supervisor if they feel that this is unacceptable – ryekayo Jul 21 '17 at 19:13
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    You might find this question useful: "What can I do at work when I have no work?" – David K Jul 21 '17 at 19:13
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    what did your boss say when you asked them? – enderland Jul 21 '17 at 19:16
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    No one here can answer this question for you. Ask your boss. He/she is the only person who can decide whether or not this is acceptable. – Roger Jul 21 '17 at 19:17

Despite working hours, is this acceptable for me to do? Or is this something I should save for off-hours?

You need to ask your boss what you should be doing if you don't have enough work to fill the hours.

Since your boss gave you the books, maybe this is a hint that reading them during work hours is acceptable. It's also possible that there are tasks that need doing which you haven't heard about yet.

But the only one who can tell you for sure (and the only one who could praise you or penalize you) is your boss. Ask.


I can’t imagine any scenario where reading on the job — which if it is related to your career as you said it is and therefore can really be considered training — would be unacceptable. It’s not unusual for your workload to shift between being intense and being quiet, and so it is a good habit to keep busy improving your job-related skills while there is nothing else that can be done at that moment in time.

It’s always good to check with your line manager or supervisor that there definitely isn’t something else that needs to be done before investing time into self-led training or reading though. I would also suggest to keep them in the loop as to what you’re currently learning.


I usually take an hour or so per day to study up on concepts I can use at work. I think it is important to ask yourself 3 basic questions.

Can I use this Knowledge for a specific reason at work? - Studying a subject that is related to your field or job but not useful is a waste of you time, and the companies.

Would this time be better spent on another task? - Reading up on how to increase efficiency is great, being efficient is better. If your a programmer for example, reading about cleaning up and commenting your code is great doing so is better.

Will this benefit the company more then the time I have taken? - This is extending the first 2 questions. Is the value to the company worth more then the time you used. Learning a tool that doubles your rate of commits - yes please! Learning a new language that may do that, if everyone commits to the change and learns it too... Not so much.

If you can say with confidence that your usage of company time benefits the company, then I would tell you to go for it. If it does not, best to ask, or simply skip it.


This answer is considering there are no other prioritized jobs you could do.

Yes! Read! If the alternative is not working, you might as well read books in the relevant field.
If you think your managers or supervisor may think this is slacking, perhaps ask them if they have any tasks you could perform instead.

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