My colleague goes home early whenever the bosses are away

She sometimes leaves at lunchtime, saying there is no work, but that’s not true. How can I address this problem?

Chair in empty office
The colleague is friendly but she’s the kind of person who would cause a scene and probably storm off. Photograph: Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremyadvice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights. Here is the latest dilemma – what are your thoughts?

Over the past couple of months I’ve noticed my colleague sometimes goes missing in the afternoon. About one o’clock I notice that she’s no longer there. When I mentioned this aloud, some other colleagues nodded morosely and said she sneaks home early if she runs out of work. This is third-hand information, but she admitted as much to a former colleague. Apparently she has been doing this for years, but only when her bosses are on holiday.

She often complains that she doesn’t have enough to do, but this is untrue. We work in administration, and although we all have our own clients, we don’t need any special knowledge to cover each other’s work. If I ever run out of work, I always ask if I can help with someone else’s, as do the rest of my team, because there is plenty of it overall.

Once she was complaining that another department had been caught watching football after telling everyone they were busy. I agreed it was outrageous, and while pointedly looking at her, said that we were all contracted to work a certain number of hours and not doing so was dishonest as well as unfair to the rest of their team. This sailed over her head higher than the Voyager spacecraft.

Aside from being annoyed that she has the gall to do this, I am concerned that this will eventually affect all of us. In my previous company, management clamped down ridiculously – to the point that they were timing our bathroom breaks – because of one or two people like my colleague who were sneaking home early.

The colleague is friendly and I get on well with her, but not enough to challenge her about it – she’s the kind of person who would cause a scene and probably storm off. How do I address this problem without telling tales or making the team atmosphere uncomfortable?

[Source:- Thr Gurdian]