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IT Employee in the Netherlands, scheduled for attending in a conference in Germany running mon-wed. Looking at the programme, we initially decided on attending 2 out of 3 days of the conference.

Knowing from the past that there are usually an informal meal and drinks with other attendees on the second day, we proposed to our manager to visit the conference, including the meal and drinks as valuable relationships can be formed during those times and then return on wednesday.

While discussing, he remarked that we would then be able to return to work at what would originally be the 3rd day of the conference. He was not opposed to us staying, but expected us back in the office somewhere during wednesday. I initially treated this as a joke, but he was serious.

Seeing as we already travel to the conference on sunday morning, thereby giving up part of our weekend, and that the travel is 2,5-3 hours back with the earliest convenience leaving aroud 9 am, I feel that travelling back for 2,5 hours, then going to the office around 12, leaving around 5 doesn't really make for a productive day. On top of that, I would still be hauling around a suitcase because dropping that off would mean another hour of travel time.

Is this a reasonable request? Or would it just make more sense to take a more comfortable time to travel home and consider the day a write off? How would you have treated / handled this?

Note: It was already resolved in a different manner, looking for advice on how other people would treat this in the future.

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, JasonJ, mcknz, Chris E, gnat Aug 29 '17 at 15:27

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    Does it matter how reasonable it is? You manager stated his expectations that you would return. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 28 '17 at 21:50
  • It does in my perceived opinion of my manager. I might be wrong in assuming that this day is a write off, or he's just being petty. – R-D Aug 28 '17 at 21:51
  • Obviously the managers expectations are in disagreement with reality :-) – gnasher729 Aug 28 '17 at 21:53
  • Did your manager ask you to go to this conference or did you ask to go to the confrence? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 28 '17 at 21:56
  • Our team has attended past conferences, and this year I was asked as a speaker. For the rest of my team, we still asked him if we could attend. The conference runs 8am to 5pm each day. – R-D Aug 28 '17 at 21:59
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Is this a reasonable request? Or would it just make more sense to take a more comfortable time to travel home and consider the day a write off?

As you will be traveling from aprox. 9 am to 12am (that is, no need to get up really early), it sounds like a reasonable request. By doing that you could still have half day of efficient work, possibly helping you not to fall behind some tasks. Otherwise, you will be throwing away 5+ work hours (compared to the 3h ride).

You can use that time in the office to sum up your experience in the conference and organize your things; review your notes, go through your business cards, and prepare any presentation or report on the event you attended.

How would you have treated / handled this?

This you should be aware is totally up to your boss to decide, it should not matter how myself or other user would have handled it. Personally, I consider it is ok to return to the office. If travel times were longer, you switched several hour zones, or you returned past noon then it would have been more reasonable to take the rest of the day off.

  • One note though, I'm a software engineer that could work from home. Organizing meeting notes and such does not require my presence at the office. Taking into account that dropping off luggage would take more time, would that sway your conviction about returning to the office? – R-D Aug 28 '17 at 21:57
  • Does it matter if it sways my opinion? Have you exposed these reasons to your boss to try convince him? You were already given permission to stay at the conference longer, your boss is not being entirely unreasonable by asking you to return to the office to check in. Probably he also wants to hear about your experience in person. – DarkCygnus Aug 28 '17 at 22:06
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    When I traveled for a living, I was expected in the office as soon as I got back even if we changed 3 time zones. – HLGEM Aug 29 '17 at 17:40
  • Yes indeed @HLGEM , it is more common to be expected to return regardless of the length and magnitude of the trip. Although the OP does not seem to travel for a living (as this was a conference) he should be aware that this is usually a common situation, like you pointed out – DarkCygnus Aug 29 '17 at 17:45
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The points you made make sense to me. I would just raise those issues with your manager – it could be that e.g. he just hadn't realized it required weekend travel.

I would avoid describing it as "unreasonable" though. If the expectations of the job are that you will travel on the weekend while still working a full week, then that's just what the job is.

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