I just shifted my residence and coincidentally one of my direct reports live nearby, so in order to save time I go to office with him. Likewise, upon return one of my other subordinate drops me half way towards my home this saves me energy and time as I live very far away from office.

From an objective point of view, I do not think it has any impact as I at the workplace I conduct myself very professionally with them and this picking up and dropping at home does not in any way impair objectivity and/or does not in any way discriminate them with returning the favors.

From HR stand point is it okay to get such small favors from subordinates?

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    Whose idea was this arrangement? Do you (personally) compensate them for fuel/vehicle depreciation? – Wesley Long Aug 28 '17 at 16:09
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    "Petty" doesn't mean what you think it does: it has strong negative connotations. – Philip Kendall Aug 28 '17 at 16:16
  • well, since he lives close by to my house, therefore its only for the sake of convenience and saving time and energy. no compensation as such for this. – AMP Aug 28 '17 at 16:20
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    Can you add a location tag to the question? – Neo Aug 28 '17 at 16:23
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    @JimG. There might be a good question down there somewhere, but it needs an edit - asking what one's own HR department would think is not something we can help with. – Bernhard Barker Aug 28 '17 at 17:50

From HR stand point is it okay to get such small favors from sub-ordinates?

It depends if those favors are really "small", in your post you say:

this saves me energy and time as I live very far away from office.

Maybe giving you a ride home once or twice is Ok to ask without having to return the favor. However, if your subordinates are carpooling you to office every day or in a considerable interval, then that favor quickly becomes more than just small. You should at least offer to cover some gas expenses or similar.

Your subordinates may not be encouraged to tell you this themselves for obvious reasons, as they might be shy or really doubtful on asking their boss for such requests. In a way, they might even feel forced to help you commuting home, possibly representing an awkward situation from them. Going even further, this situation could easily be misinterpreted as that those free rides will eventually result in you "returning the favor" to your subordinates, encouraging them to do so in an attempt to obtain benefits in their career or jobs.

I suggest you speak to them to clear this arrangement out, so you can come to a solution that works for both sides.

  • yes exactly, giving ride home does not imply that they feel obligated to give ride home.... and its only once or twice a week or even less than that.... – AMP Aug 28 '17 at 16:26
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    yes, it may be just once or twice a week, but adding those up it does represent some expenses for you subordinates. I still suggest you come to an agreement on gas or something. That or returning the favor in a similar way, like giving them rides when you can, or inviting them to lunch or similar. – DarkCygnus Aug 28 '17 at 16:29

In addition to your subordinates probably not feeling comfortable telling you no, or asking you to help pay for gas, you are also giving them a lot more one-on-one time than the rest of your team.

Every time you carpool with a subordinate, you have the opportunity to make a closer connection, to help them with their work, to become a friend, to encourage them. The rest of the team will not have that opportunity, and if those two who carpool with you get promotions or better work, whether it's because of your closeness or not, it will be perceived as an unfair advantage by the others on your team. It may not change your objectivity, but there will certainly be an appearance of favoritism if they are ever promoted.

If you are paying for gas, that will also appear like they are getting a monetary benefit. But if you don't pay for gas, you're taking advantage of those team members who probably would feel uncomfortable speaking up and asking for it, or saying they didn't want to give you a ride. In that area, you really can't win.

You're better off avoiding the situation altogether. Carpool with someone who is not on your team (nor your own boss), and offer to pay for gas part of the time.

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    This is the only correct course of action in this scenario. – Neo Aug 28 '17 at 17:06

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