Getting extra WFH days but can't tell coworker
February 16, 2017 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Recently my manager has told me that he will allow me to work from home every other Friday, and a coworker is not getting the same perk. I know my coworker will notice, but don't know what to say to her if she asks. Details inside.

I will soon be starting an online course that takes place every Friday during work hours and my manager wants to allow me to take the course while keeping it low key - I think that's why he's allowing me to WFH. However, my coworker/friend with the same manager will not be getting the same benefit, but I know she will eventually notice that I'm at home every other Friday and will wonder what's up. My manager mentioned that the working from home thing isn't in writing and it should be kept under wraps. What am I supposed to say to my coworker if she asks about it? I don't want to be a jerk, but I also don't want it getting back to him that I told her.
posted by koolaidnovel to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honestly - ask your manager what he'd like you to say. "Keep it under wraps" is not really a thing - it's ok to say to him "hey if Janet asks where I am on Fridays, how would you like me to respond?"
posted by brainmouse at 2:40 PM on February 16, 2017 [28 favorites]

Well I would ask your manager how they want you to respond to questions about this if you're asked.

I might say something like, "I have a personal thing going on for the next 8 weeks (however long the course is) and Manager is giving me a little extra flexibility during this time. I'm still expected to meet all deadlines and hold up my end of any projects. I will be available to all my teammates and am committed to making sure our work goes well."

I don't think you're obligated to say anything more.
posted by brookeb at 2:43 PM on February 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

"I'm taking a class during work hours on Friday and Martha is ok with it as long as all my work gets done."
posted by pintapicasso at 2:55 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can ask you manager or if you coworker asks "I need to work from home every other Friday and worked it out with Manager. I'm available over phone/email. "
posted by seesom at 2:56 PM on February 16, 2017

"I'm taking a class, with Boss' approval." Don't say anything about missing or making up work, don't use the term Work From Home.

I understand your boss' position here and I think it's reasonable to keep your exact arrangement under wraps. 1) your perks, privileges, time management, and compensation are NONE of your coworker's business. 2) it sounds like this is off the books thus something your boss can't/won't do for anyone else. Spilling about it would open a can of worms.
posted by kapers at 4:24 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

"None of your business" or "training", depending on what kind of mood you're in.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:38 PM on February 16, 2017

I do want to add, though, that "none of your business" will be taken very poorly by coworkers. Saying that your perks are none of your coworker's business, while technically true, is very clearly aligning yourself with management over your teammates. Depending on how you feel about things like teamwork, solidarity, and the growing class divide, you may or may not be OK with that.

But almost this exact scenario has happened in my office, and the coworker who was given the WFH days is pretty much universally reviled at this point. Be honest with your coworker, tell her that it's for a class, it's temporary, and that you're sorry that the policy is weird and unclear. If you can't do that, expect that she will be your coworker and NOT your friend going forward
posted by AmandaA at 6:56 AM on February 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's a medical thing. No, I don't want to talk about it. No really, you don't want details, trust me.
posted by xammerboy at 11:07 AM on February 17, 2017

I can't be in the office for a personal reason I can't discuss. I realize that might be inconvenient for others and I'm sorry; please don't hesitate to call me at home if there is something urgent I can help with.

[prying questions]

I'm sorry, I can't discuss that.
posted by ctmf at 9:00 PM on February 17, 2017

I actually wouldn't admit to the pattern at all. You take a Friday off. You take another one off two weeks later. Two is not a pattern. Then a third, someone might say something, you laugh it off as a coincidence. Just keep addressing only the single day - "I asked the manager if I could have the day off and he said yes [shrug]"

Anyone who starts to get disgruntled about the pattern when it becomes undeniable can bring it up with the manager. After all, he's the one allowing it. But how long is the class? Chances are it will be over by then.
posted by ctmf at 9:12 PM on February 17, 2017

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