Work Policy

Work got these policies you see…

Work Policy Trending

A trend that started recently at my job is to establish your “work policy.” There are no guidelines surrounding this policy, nor is it required to create one. But, upper management started the trend and it has slowly trickled down the org chart to where it is—not expected—thoughtful if you created your own work policy.

What the heck is a work policy? With no set rules, just examples of previous work profiles that others have written, I’ll try and explain. Most start with what type of parent you are and your family size. Permeations of this included lines such as I am a … “Single father to 2 girls, 3 and 5” or “Mother to 2 adult children.”

This is followed by a short synapsis of what fills your life, at least from what I gathered. This includes what you do extracurricularly such as what time you take your first born to gymnastics, what shift your significant other works so that you cover parenting, what times generally are you not in the house, and hobbies like traveling or basket weaving. I believe this information is why you feel justified to what is coming next, which is, the actual work policy.

The work policy generally begins with the times you are sitting at your desk working. Most follow the typical days of working at a large tech company, start between 8 and 9 if you are manager, 10 or 11 if you are a developer, and which days of the week you mainly online. There is also information about the times you take your breaks, be it walking/exercise, eating, driving the kids, etc. and statements about your preferred meeting times and when you prioritize answering emails/slack/chime/text messages.

The final two sentences were included in all the Work Policies that I’ve read:

If I get asked or feel pressure to work outside my designated hours or on weekends, I will track this time.  I will speak with my manager if I feel there is an expectation being set that will require consistent after-hours participation.

If I need to take time off on short notice, I will let my manager, team, and people I have meetings with know. I will let my manager and team know where I need their help to cover for my absence.

Do I need a policy?

I didn’t choose to create one. Really, I didn’t see the need for one. I don’t think I need to justify why I won’t answer email, either during the day or outside business hours, and why I don’t feel the need for anyone at work to have my phone number—unless we’ve reached the point in our lives where you need to contact me to tell me where the happy hour is or what bar our manager is getting sloppy in. I do discuss my weekend excursions with my team, but it doesn’t need to be written in an official doc.

I also feel a bit of shame. Just slightly. I see everyone else and their schedule of taking kids here, or judging science fairs there. I don’t do any of that. And people say it shouldn’t matter, that your time is your time, but I really can’t create a work policy like the following.

My Work Policy

I am a married with no children, save two cats that I’ve rescued from the shelter. My wife works per diem and can go some days in a row without working—did I mention we live in a one bed room apartment? Some days I roll out of bed around 7am, warm up whatever coffee I didn’t finish the day before—yet another reason to drink black coffee, mmm the bitter the better—and jump on my work laptop. Mainly to ignore whatever rush email our project managers felt the need to send off at 11 pm the night before, do some early morning work, and read clear any slack/chime messages I got so it isn’t flashing at me on the task bar. Then go watch Instagram reels on the toilet before getting back to work.

Around 11 I start thinking of my first meal of the day, after some morning meetings, a fair bit of light intellectual work, and our daily stand up, I make a brunch. No, not the mimosa kind while wearing a high ankle tight pants, no socks, and brown shoes; it is just an early lunch and I’ll add an egg to make it breakfasty. After eating I’ll brush my teeth and get ready to go on a daily walk, which is typically my only exercise of the day. I’m usually gone for about an hour and a half lost in a pod cast about money, financial independence, or changing a career.

At around 3, I’ll curse whomever scheduled a meeting this late and think about clocking off for the day. It is around this time that my cats need my attention. I feel they need me to hold and pet them since they’ve been sleeping all day and to remind them I still love them. At night, sometimes, just because I’m bored watching Netflix or another career changing udemy course, I may log in around 7pm (but will choose to ignore some emails).

I’ll accept the occasional 7am meeting, but be aware that I do not have my work email nor slack or chime on my phone so those late-night/weekend invites will be missed. I will try and talk you out of a meeting between my brunch and walk timeframe and will likely refuse anything past 4pm. Your best bets are invites sent during the day for meeting that occur between 9 and 11am, and 2-4 pm.

[Obligatory] If I get asked or feel pressure to work outside my designated hours or on weekends, I will track this time.  I will speak with my manager if I feel there is an expectation being set that will require consistent after-hours participation.

I follow the near 40-hour work week. Often, I front load this Monday-Thursday and will only put in a couple of hours on Friday. Especially if it is nice out and my wife isn’t working, we will go hiking then hit a brewery. If I need to take time off on short notice, I will let my manager, team, and people I have meetings with know. I will let my manager and team know where I need their help to cover for my absence.

Obviously I didn’t post it

I think my manager would actually get a kick out of it. Or she would think I am making fun of the people who are taking it seriously. Do you all have a work policy? Internally or publicly, it is a good idea to set expectations and make sure people know how serious you are about your job or life in general. I’m just taking it as is right now.

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