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Old 01-21-2010, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 3,819
If you need to leave work early, how do you go about it?

I'll provide a couple of scenarios that I will taylor to my situation, which is, my boss is hardly ever in this office and is often in meetings so hard to get ahold of. I am in the equivilent of a mid-management role but am not a 'manager' and have no employees. I work in the same office as the regional Directors (including my boss) and the regional President, who has an EA that is a busybody and has previously 'ratted' me out on a few things.

These are the scenarios:

a) You become very sick after lunch and need to leave for home about two hours early.

b) You need to take your dog to an emergency vet/the babysitter can't make it/there is a plumbing emergency. This occurs while you are at work and you find out about it mid-afternoon, about an hour and a half before home time.

c) You know there will be heavy traffic due to some event and plan on leaving 30 minutes early. You worked through lunch.

Now, who do you tell, if anyone, and how do you go about it? Do you leave a note on your door/computer? Are you telling certain people because you should, or because you don't want to get in trouble?
Old 01-21-2010, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: East Texas
Posts: 9,813
My immediate boss, who doesn't work on the premises. I'd do this no matter what the scenario and because it's the right thing to do. If I couldn't get ahold of her (with the exception of B), I'd stay at work. For B, I'd just deal with any fallout.
Old 01-21-2010, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 5,877
I'm simply not in your situation -- working in (I think) a different industry and a different part of the world -- but all these situations as well as any other ones are covered by "I arrive and leave as I please." As long as the work gets done, and I put in something resembling a month-loadful of hours (ha! Most months I'm well over quota; and I'm salaried, so no overtime....), I'm fine and everyone else is fine (and does the same)

If I'm leaving before 5 PM or arriving later than 9 I'll mark myself "out of office" in Outlook, and that's it.
Old 01-21-2010, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,897
Leave a message, either voicemail or e-mail, to your supervisor, that you are leaving and why. That's the courteous and professional thing to do.
Old 01-21-2010, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Back at 5,280
Posts: 4,494
If my boss isn't around I’ll just leave. If my boss is there I'd stick my head in to let him know I'm taking off early and why (if I just don't want to be there I'll make up something better). I get to work a half hour early every day so I don't worry about the occasionally long lunch or leaving early.

Last Friday I just couldn't wait to get to my weekend so I worked into lunch a bit to get everything wrapped up and while my boss was checking it over I asked him if he needed anything else from me for the week and if not I was going to disappear. He said he wouldn't be looking for me but would call if he needed anything.
Old 01-21-2010, 02:45 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 49,082
Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
Leave a message, either voicemail or e-mail, to your supervisor, that you are leaving and why. That's the courteous and professional thing to do.
That's what I have always done if my boss wasn't available to talk to in person. I'm usually working as a temp and getting paid hourly and having someone sign off on my hours, so it isn't quite the same, but in a salaried position, it saves a lot of trouble to keep your superiors in the loop for your comings and goings. It's funny how they don't seem to notice the times you work extra hours, but notice the one time you left half an hour early.
"Your guilty consciences may make you vote Democratic, but secretly you all yearn for a Republican president to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king!"
- S. Bob
Old 01-21-2010, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Near Washington, DC
Posts: 10,528
There is always someone looking for me. I leave an out of office note on my e-mail, and inform my boss personally if at all possible. Also, I stop by my direct reports offices (we're on the same hall) and let them know how/if they'll be able to reach me. Boss and DRs get an e-mail if I don't find them.

If I'm really running (i.e. baby sick at daycare) then I just tell the first person I find and ask them to pass it on. I don't usually make phone calls while driving, but I'd probably call the boss from the road in that case.
Old 01-21-2010, 03:05 PM
tdn tdn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 35,871
It used to be that I'd just tell my office mate. "I'm going to see my dentist. See you in a couple of hours."
Old 01-21-2010, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,062
I text my boss and speak to one other person on my way out the door, "Tell boss I'm gone!"

The text (or email sometimes) usually contains the reason and justifies my timesheet, e.g., "I'm leaving to go meet the plumber at 3:30. I'll be using 2 hours of personal time. There are no deadlines you need to worry about. or XYZ person has agreed to cover my deadline and post my file by 5:00."

In other words, I make sure the boss knows my obligations are met, my time accounted for, and all projects are being properly fed and watered in my absence. Anyone wishing to tattle will be generally soundly ignored.

FTR, I work as a contractor in our client's office. My boss is actually in another state. When I said "my boss" I mean the team leader in this client's office, who directs all my work. My boss does not care about my comings and goings, as long as the client agrees to whatever.
Old 01-21-2010, 03:39 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 14,654
Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
Leave a message, either voicemail or e-mail, to your supervisor, that you are leaving and why. That's the courteous and professional thing to do.
And it documents when you were out, in case the nosy EA mentioned earlier exaggerates.
Old 01-21-2010, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,674
In all of those cases I have to take a half day off and arrange a sub and prepare sub plans. This is one of the suckiest things about teaching.
Old 01-21-2010, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: NH, Escaped from MA
Posts: 2,896
A & B would be a simple email.

C, I'd just be headed out the door. No notification needed.
Old 01-21-2010, 04:29 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 23,471
In all the places I've worked there's always been at least an informal protocol for something like this. It usually worked out to something like:

Immediate supervisor
Administrative assistant for the department
Office manager or receptionist
Immediate supervisor's boss
Co-worker in the department

And even if you reach your immediate supervisor who happens to be away from the office at the time, you still tell one of the other people so someone on the premises knows.
Old 01-21-2010, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
There's always a chain of command. If I left early I tell my boss and if he/she isn't there I tell my bosses boss. And so on up the line.
Old 01-21-2010, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 18,811
I stand up and walk out the door.

But then, I'm a grad student.
Old 01-21-2010, 06:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,542
A & B:

If it's an emergency I let my boss know what's going on and why I have to leave. If I was supposed to meet anyone I let them know that I have to leave due to unforeseen circumstances and we'll reschedule. If there's anything on my plate that can't wait until I get back I get one of my teammates to keep an eye on it - if it's the kind of emergency where I can't stop to do that stuff I let my boss know that it needs to be done and he'll get someone to take care of it. Email my teammates that I'll be gone until (whenever).

So basically notify my boss and teammates, put off/reschedule meetings, make sure I'm not leaving anything undone. This usually takes all of about 5 minutes although it can sound like a lot.

Oh, and set my out of office email and voicemail including who to contact if immediate assistance is required.

We all have Blackberries so communication is easy while in the cab rushing home.

If it's not an emergency but something like "I got in early, worked through lunch, I'm tired, traffic is a mess and I'd like to leave early" I'll check that I'm not walking out on anything (or that I can do it remotely from home), ask my boss if it's OK and then let my coworkers know. I wouldn't do this on a really busy day, only if it's pretty quiet.
Old 01-21-2010, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,817
I tell my boss, my admin, and sometimes a few others that I'm working closely with on projects. Usually I'll send an email with my cell or something if I'll be available. Don't normally say why. I'm at the office late enough most days that it's not an issue, and I'm on salary.
Old 01-21-2010, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,046
I drop an email to my team (including my manager) and anyone I'm working closely with at the minute.

The 30 minutes early thing, I just leave. I'm salaried and often working at 9pm doing email. If anyone needs to reach me, I have a cell phone.

I work with global teams, its rare everyone is in the office at the same time anyway (rare, take that teams are NEVER all in the office at the same time.)
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
Old 01-22-2010, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: slightly north of center
Posts: 4,617
If it's during normal business hours, say 8-5, I call my teammates and ask them if they can watch my screens, leave an email and a voicemail message indicating who my backups are, and then a call to my manager letting them know what is happening.

One of my responsibilities is to approve/correct orders, and if no one is backing me up, shipments to our customers might be held up. If we are open, there has to be someone around to approve orders.
Old 01-22-2010, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 1,584
If I'm headed home and will be indisposed for some reason (such that I won't be able to check email form my Blackberry) I'll let at least my boss know, as well as anyone who may be waiting on deliverables form me - reports, presentations, etc.

Otherwise, if I'll be able to check email/answer phone calls, I just say bye to folks in the office, and head home - myself and many of my colleagues work from home at least a couple days a week.
Old 01-22-2010, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Down the rabbit, whole!
Posts: 12,563
If my boss was around I would mention I was leaving. If not, and my assistant was around I would mention I was leaving. If no one was around I would just leave.

The reason given in all scenarios is 'I'm leaving before I stab someone in the face with a fork.' Good thing the folks at work get my sense of humour....
Old 01-22-2010, 05:54 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Modesto, CA
Posts: 535
I send an email to the other 5 supervisors and my boss. I might tell the whole plumber story or just say I'm leaving for an appointment, depending on my mood. I tell my team in person and ask them to take care of anything special.

The fact that it's no big deal to do it (as long as it isn't too often) is one of the reasons I work here. I'm primary caregiver to a 7 year old daughter with somewhat special needs, so I need a job that doesn't look down on putting family first when I have to.

Edit to add: If it's just 30 minutes early I just mention it to the supervisor next door and my team in person. Technically my 8 hours is up 30 minutes to an hour before I usually go home anyway.

Last edited by Kalypso; 01-22-2010 at 05:57 PM.
Old 01-22-2010, 06:04 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 17,924
We work flexible hours so it would be no problem. I'd just tell my work team I'm going. An explanation would depend on whether the story was interesting enough to bother telling.

Yesterday at work was very quiet and one woman left at 2 o'clock because she was bored. No one cared, we just said "See you on Monday."
Old 01-22-2010, 09:58 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Southeast Michigan, USA
Posts: 10,563
Salaried, and I work just as much unpaid overtime as straight time. So, (a) "I'm not feeling well. I'm going home, and I'll call in if I can't make it first thing in the morning. (b) "There's a personal problem, and I've got to leave and take care of it." If asked, I'll describe the circumstance. (c) "I'm gonna beat traffic. See you all tomorrow."

Of course, I can't use all of these every day. I'm just as likely to tell my boss as my coworkers, and maybe even no one. We're responsible engineers, and it's noted amongst everyone if someone becomes abusive.
Old 01-23-2010, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Barrie, Ontario
Posts: 5,211
Im paid hourly on assembly line factory, If I have notice that I have to be out of work early then I book any remaining vacation time. Last minute notice, usually its a sick leave request to leave work early and the supervisor is notified and i fill out an emergency leave form for the amount of time that I am leaving and the reason why, regardless if its actually true or not.

Old 01-23-2010, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm right here!
Posts: 8,858
I don't tell anyone, I just leave. We set up meetings using outlook, and i I had one, but had to leave early for an emergency, I'd email the person who set up the meeting.

Some people have signs near their door with typical locations, and a magnet they move appropriately. Locations like "in" "out", "Gone for day", "Room 123 X5678".

EmAnJ, is this a poll, or are you looking for solutions for your situation?
Old 01-23-2010, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Southern Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,599
When I worked in an office, if my boss wasn't there I would email him and let him know that I had left. I would also tell anyone who needed to know how to reach me.
Old 01-23-2010, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 3,819
Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post

EmAnJ, is this a poll, or are you looking for solutions for your situation?
I suppose a bit of both. What I did do was email my boss with a cc to the nosy EA letting them know I was leaving early and referenced that I had to do stuff at my house. My boss emailed back letting me know he received it.
Old 01-23-2010, 10:31 AM
The Zeroeth Mod
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11,445
If I have to leave, no one is going to tell me I can't. But I'd be expected to -- and I would -- email my office manager and the receptionist(s) so they know I'm not around, and I should also email or speak to anyone that I'm working with immediately that day so that no one is screwed waiting for me to complete something when I'm not there.

My office is big enough that it's hard to tell if someone is gone for the day, gone for lunch, or in the bathroom for a few minutes, so it's really important to let folks know if I'm not around during my normal hours.
Old 01-24-2010, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 354
It depends on a lot of things.

Our office has a web tool for such things, and another web tool which also has to be updated.
But in my team the understanding is that if it is a couple of hours we just tell the boss. The web tool is horrible and takes around 15 minutes to update.

We all work so much over the normal office hours that no one dares to question our occasional absence. But I make sure to set an out of office notice, in case I had some meetings scheduled.
Old 01-25-2010, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 1,965
Whatever the need I tell my boss, "I need to take off at X time today."

He says, "Okay."

I don't abuse it and it works out fine for both of us.
Old 01-25-2010, 06:29 PM
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 25,088
Originally Posted by EmAnJ View Post
Now, who do you tell, if anyone, and how do you go about it? Do you leave a note on your door/computer? Are you telling certain people because you should, or because you don't want to get in trouble?
I work in a public library, so there is always someone else I can let know that I need to leave (or, in certain cases, won't be back from lunch/dinner).

Absolute worst case scenario is that this would happen on a day when I'm acting as the manager on duty for my branch, in which case it is possible that someone who does not have a security code for the alarm system might have to lock up the building.

Normal procedure though, would be for me to tell (or call) my immediate supervisor, the branch manager, any other manager, any other professional staff, or any staff person (in that order of preference) to inform them of my inability to come/return to work.
Old 01-25-2010, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 14,000
Call in a bomb threat

Old 01-25-2010, 07:41 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,704
I work in a large government office of lawyers working cases mostly independently. I only go to my assistant directors if there's a problem, and to my director when I need something officially authorized. We come and go according to our own schedules, and we travel a lot for our cases, so it's entirely common for someone not be in his or her office on any given day.

Under these circumstances, I've wondered how long I could simply stop going to work before anyone would notice. My rough guess is three to six weeks.
Old 01-25-2010, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Here
Posts: 4,302
Right now, I would have to hunt my supervisor down and ask for permission. If she okays it, I'm free to go (after I go back to my cube to complete a leave request via email). Leaving early just because is verboten. In order to leave for illness, I pretty much have to yark into her lap.

In the next few weeks we will be switching over to a new work environment where we supposedly are free to come and go at will, as long as we get our 40 hours and sufficient work product in. Not all are agreeable to it, but it's mandatory. Our team has already scratched three agreements for how coverage will be handled due to particularly stuuborn co-workers who just cannot grasp the idea of working outside the office walls outside the usual 8 - 430.
Old 01-25-2010, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 14,908
Am a lawyer. No one cares if you leave early or late as long as you don't abuse it. At any given time, I might be in court, at a clients, in a meeting, out of station etc. My clerks know how to reach me and so does my boss and he is not shy about calling me at 10 pm for work related issues, so I am not shy about leaving if I have no work.
Old 01-26-2010, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,608
Ah, all you lucky people who work in offices and have email.

I work as an hourly employee in a very small retail store. If I am fortunate enough to be working with one of my two coworkers, I will turn to them as soon as I get out of the bathroom and say, "I'm not going to make it....I need to head home" if they are the scheduled closer. If I am the closer, I will beg them to work a double and cover my end of the shift (another 2 hours past the end of their shift) and they will get to come in late or leave early later in the week. If I am working alone, with no one coming in to relieve me and I am so deathly ill that it would be impossible for me to do anything other than sit on the toilet while throwing up in the wastebasket for the rest of my shift, I would have to call my manager, then call the regional manager, then call mall management, then put a sign on the door, and possibly call any customers who might be coming back for an urgent item. Then close the register.

If it is a household emergency...I'd better be the only person on the planet who can handle it for a couple of hours. Or I'd better plan better.

If traffic is heavy to be me. I can only leave early if someone else is there to cover and I didn't eat lunch. Having to deal with a bit of traffic is NOT a good enough excuse. But then, this is Cleveland....traffic is never THAT bad, even on game days.

In any event, I have to take the time off as personal time/sick time/vacation's all one pool of hours. Or I just don't get paid.
Old 01-26-2010, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 6,333
If it's a couple of hours or less, I usually just leave. More than that and I might send my boss an email "FYI- have to head out at X:00". He's 1200 miles away and we might only speak once a month anyway, so it's just a courtesy. I'll swing by the VP's office on my way out and give a wave and say "gotta go, I'll be in in the morning."
Old 01-26-2010, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: East TN Mtns USA,NA,Sol3
Posts: 4,101
Things are pretty flexible with my lab, but then again we do work long hours and some weekends.
I would walk down two doors and tell the Dir of Tech that I had to leave early today and I will be available via mobile and web if anyone needs me.

That is assuming, of course, that I wasn't supporting an installation on the West Coast.
Like I am today, for example.
Old 01-26-2010, 09:45 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 14,113
I would call my boss and let her know I had to leave. If I couldn't get a hold of her, I would leave her a message or send and email. I'd also let my subordinate know and remind her my cell # so she can reach me if she needs to.
Old 01-26-2010, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Face down in the dirt.
Posts: 2,559
If it's just a half hour and my boss is here I just stick my head in her office and tell her that "I'm toast" or "Stick a fork in me." If my boss isn't here, then I'm the boss so I just leave. If it's more than a half hour, I'll actually ask (rather than just informing her) and explain why. If she's not here, I'll send her an email (she's a crackberry addict) and take off.
Old 01-26-2010, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: The Chasm of Sar
Posts: 973
I smuggle my stuff (coat, handbag, etc) to my car at lunchtime. Then 5 minutes before I need to leave I stand up and start slowly backing out of the office. Each time anyone looks in my direction it appears that I am walking into the room. I keep this up until I back myself completely out the door.
Then I run like hell.
nah seriously I am the boss and can leave whenever I like
Old 01-26-2010, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Location: Location:
Posts: 10,545
I get up and leave.

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