a bit of background to the question, I'm a junior developer and we have recently been given flexitime which so far is working well as I get to start at 8am and leave at 4:30pm.

Today I arrived at 7:30 (I like to be early so I can have a coffee in the office before I start my work) however no one arrived to open the office until 9am.

So my question is, should I leave at the the normal time (5:30 pm) or when I would usually leave(4:30 pm)?

  • Were you the only one waiting outside 'til 9:00 ? Did you boss say something about that ? (kind of : "have you been waiting for long ?"). I would work the normal shift today, and nicely ask my boss ASAP, so you solve this issue togheter and you know what to do next... – OldPadawan Aug 2 '17 at 8:45
  • There was about 6 of us, I was the first one there (7:30) then others arrived at about 7:50. Our manager didn't ask how long we were there for, he just opened up and went to his desk and started working. – Tfish Aug 2 '17 at 8:50
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    So the staff know the problem, and the boss doesn't seem to know... 1. Work normal shift today 2. Talk to him as a team, find a solution together – OldPadawan Aug 2 '17 at 8:52
  • I can't recall the rules around this for the UK right now but since this is the first time it happened the right course of action is to just talk about it with your manager so you get aligned on how you should handle this now and in the future. We can't really guess at what you should do. – Lilienthal Aug 2 '17 at 9:07
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    How is flexitime supposed to work if you cannot flexibly open the office? There needs to be a general discussion on how to keep the office open from the first start option to the last end. – skymningen Aug 2 '17 at 11:29

Unless there was a pre-existing conversation with your boss that you were coming in at 8 and that someone would be there to open the office then I'd say that this time you'll just have to take it on the chin and work till 5:30.

What I would do though is explain to your boss (in a non-confrontational, non-accusatory way) that there was no-one to open the office when you arrived and ask if you need to be letting people know about any plans to arrive "early" to ensure a keyholder opens up, or if the office won't be opening pre-9:00 on a day you were planning to come in early that you can at least adjust your plans.

Most likely this is just a blip that is down to the organisation adjusting to the flexitime (you mention it is a recent development).

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    You could argue that you were there early and still leave at 4:30, but it seems a bit conflictual for 1h of work when the real problem is to make sure it doesn't happen again. – Kerkyra Aug 2 '17 at 9:22
  • Yes, possible solutions could involve: 1) Tfish being given a key/keycard/etc to be able to start early, 2) The manager sending out some sort of notification if they won't be in until 9am, so Tfish and any other early birds know not to show up early, 3) Tfish coordinating in advance with the manager to ensure someone is available to open early, or 4) insert other solution here :) – Doktor J Aug 27 '18 at 16:10

Today, work till 5:30. Yes it's not your fault that you couldn't start at 8 - but you still need to ensure you're working your contracted hours.

Make sure today though that you discuss with your boss what happens in future. If the company is offering flexible hours - they need to ensure you can start work when you want to (because that's the whole point).


With all implementations of flextime that I know, there is a set of rules, in particular core and maximum work hours. You need to be there at least during core hours (e.g. 10am-2pm), and you may only work during a certain window (e.g. 7am-7pm). Was that not communicated?

If not, then talk to your manager and ask them to set this policy. Then everyone will know what is or is not possible with flextime.

As to today: If you normally start at 8 and leave at 4:30, I don't see why you cannot leave at 4:30 today, too. The time from 7:30 to 8 is probably on you, because it was not clear whether you can start before 8, but if your normal day starts at 8 am, and the door is locked, that's not your fault.


This is a tricky one.

The basic answer is: You were there at the disposition of the employer in the time agreed upon with him; that you did not were able to do work due to factors external to you does not change that. It is not different to, say, staying an hour idle at work because of the computer do not work due to a power outage.

One small "but" is that it may be difficult to prove that you were there at 8 pm; but since you state you are there everyday that sould not be much of an issue. Also any message contacting your coworkers and reporting the issue with the doors should help. Check with your boss that he knowns that you were there at 8:00 am.

The big "but" is that you have just started with flex time, which means that the system still has to be worked out and your employer is still evaluating it. If the employer gets to the conclussion that the system leads to employees working less hours(either if it is not the employees'fault), he may want to return to strict time. I am not saying that it would happen by just one incident, but if it happens more times it could be determinant.


Just ask your manager.

Don't assume anything and simply ask. Something odd happened today and you want to know how to proceed as well as set up an example for future instances should it happen again. This is the exact situation where the only correct thing to do is ask your manager.

You shouldn't "just do the work" without asking because depending on your company guidelines that could push you into overtime hours or the like, which may or may not be "ok".

You shouldn't assume the opposite either, since you don't want to short-change your workplace work-hours.

Just ask.

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