update: my coworker hangs out with my boss all day in our shared office

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer who whose coworker hung out with her boss for hours in their shared office, making it hard for the letter-writer to focus? Here’s the update.

I’ve already got some big updates for you and a few clarifications to offer in light of some of the comments I saw.

First, the clarifications. My boss does indeed get her job done, and does it very well. In the time I have been here, I have not seen her allow anything to fall through the cracks. She does often work while Sansa is in our office. In light of the comments and in rereading my initial post, I have come to realize that Sansa will often only stop by for 10-15 minutes once or twice for the first hour of two of the day. I assume Arya powers through her work during this time. Arya and I also have the ability to complete a lot of our work on our phones as much of it involves calling and emailing vendors, so I am sure that she does a lot of her work before or after office hours. Sansa is another story, which I will address in the actual update that is to follow.

Sansa’s work is indeed cyclical, as many of the comments assumed, and her department is overstaffed by about one to two employees. The reason for this is that the owners would rather sink a little extra into payroll for much of the time while having enough staff to keep the busy times manageable, avoid unpaid OT (we are all salaried), and prevent burnout. They treat us like adults and assume that if we do not look busy or look like we are “working”, it is because our jobs are done and we… are not busy. They do not expect or want us to be busy 8 hours a day, every day. I suspect this is a large contributing factor to why this issue was ignored for so long; work did not appear to be getting neglected, so ownership chose to look the other way.

Onto the update: We are coming into the busy time of year for Sansa’s department. Only a day after sending in my post, it came to light that Sansa had made multiple egregious and careless errors. Ownership was understandably livid. I do not know what conversations happened behind closed doors, but I do know that Sansa’s time in our office has dropped tremendously. She probably spends a collective 1.5 hours in here per day now, spread out into 15-30 minute increments. I can deal with that, as long as it does not escalate back to what it was. I did hear Sansa and Arya discussing how some of the errors in question were not actually Sansa’s fault, and rather an attempt by someone else (Let’s call him Ned) to “sabotage her”. I can tell you with 95% certainty that this claim is laughable and when I heard it, I rolled my eyes hard enough to get a glimpse of my brain. Regardless, I said nothing, as there is no reason for me to get involved in that which does not concern me.

I assume that as time goes on and this scar fades, Sansa will gradually ease her way back to spending all day in our office. If I am wrong, and all remains well, this will be the only update. If I am correct, I will be sure to send in another update when something new occurs.

One last thought – there were a lot of comments questioning my assertion that Sansa and Arya do not want to be inconsiderate of me and are nice people. I believe very firmly that these comments are objectively logical but pragmatically inaccurate. I go out of my way to appear as though I take no issue with their behavior, which is a personal problem I have with people-pleasing. I think that the majority of people carry on with their lives under the assumption that all is well until someone points out that all is not in fact well. People tend to gradually ease into habits and routines that bring them joy. Humans are not always inclined to look at things from a “big picture” perspective unless prompted to do so. I know these people well, and am formally requesting that the readers accept my assessment of their intentions to be accurate. (Note from Alison: Yep — let’s trust letter-writers know their situations better than commenters do!)

{ 115 comments… read them below }

  1. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I guess this is a good update, but it sort of astounds me that after making several egregious errors, Sansa is still spending more than an hour a day away from her tasks and socializing with Arya.

    1. Dragoning*

      I wonder what it would take to get actually fired at this place, and how “egregious” the errors were.

      1. Kes*

        To be fair, we don’t know what the errors are or exactly how management has reacted to them – it may well be that they don’t rise to the level of immediate dismissal but that she is on a PIP and if similar errors continue to occur after being warned she’ll be out the door, and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the next update

        1. Dragoning*

          No, that’s why I said I was wondering about how bad they were. “Egregious” is a word I tend to associate with “fire them immediately” but I’m aware not everyone does.

        2. londonedit*

          I went back and read the original post, and OP comments with this:

          ‘Since I sent this in, Sansa made a careless mistake in the handling of a couple hundred thousand dollars … I suspect that she’s become very accustomed to having little on her plate and tends to rush through her work when her plate is full. I’m not sure.’

          That sounds fairly serious! But I agree, we don’t know whether Sansa might already be in some sort of disciplinary process. Usually these things aren’t common knowledge outside of the employee and their manager(s) so who knows whether Sansa might be on some sort of formal warning already.

          1. Elenna*

            Well, the seriousness depends on the size of the company, I would imagine – an error of “a couple hundred thousand” is less serious if the company has billions of dollars of assets, especially since the OP just said that Sansa made an error while handing that amount, not that she actually lost that entire amount.

            That being said, I do wonder if Sansa’s behaviour changed because she’s been put on a PIP. Not that it matters to what OP should do.

            1. MK*

              It doesn’t sound as if she actually cost the company this sum, just that she made an error with a big client.

              1. londonedit*

                I agree that the seriousness depends on how much money the company has/handles on a regular basis, but from the comments on the original post it seems Sansa works in Accounts, where I’d have thought that making an error in handling a reasonably large sum of money would be looked upon fairly harshly.

            2. RC Rascal*

              Speaking as someone who has handled financial transactions for companies with billions in assets: errors in handling one hundred thousand dollars plus are very serious. The big corporations tend to have high standards when it comes to handling financial obligations.

            3. Quill*

              I’ve worked at places where an unexpected $20 was a disaster and at places where an unexpected charge of $1000 (usually cumulatively, such as ordering extras from a vendor to make sure that the items arrived on time) was a cost of doing business.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      Yes I was shocked at how her time in their office had “…dropped tremendously” but was still an hour and a half! That’s still a huge chunk of a work day! I mean, it is a big difference if she was spending almost the entire day, but that’s still a crazy amount of time for someone who’s recently made a serious error.

      Either way I hope things continue to improve for the LW, thanks for writing in with an update!

      1. andream*

        Could she be spending her lunch and breaks in the office? Some places don’t have a clear rule on you need to take breaks at these times. So a lot of places give you one hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks. She could be using this break time to socialize.

        1. andream*

          And I don’t mean to come across as I am in favor of Sansa, I’m not. I’m just pointing out that she could be socializing at her break times, which a lot of people do. Especially if Ansa is taking break at this time as well. So she may not be neglecting her duties.

          1. Sparrow*

            Yeah, if it’s like the lunch hour and a 15-minute stop-in in the morning and in the afternoon, that actually seems ok to me. Lots of people have a hard time being productive for 3-4 solid hours; if taking 15 minutes to generally clear your head – move around, get a drink, chat about something different, etc. – helps you use the rest of the time more efficiently, I think it’s worthwhile.

            Granted, if you’re in trouble with the bosses, I think you’d want to be less obvious about it or keep it shorter, but I don’t think the practice itself is necessarily egregious (if we’re talking about 1.5 hours excluding lunch, though, that changes things.)

      2. valentine*

        And is she still in there regardless of where Arya, OP, or Jon are? Is she still bothering other people when OP won’t attend to her? This is an overall management problem.

      3. Working with professionals*

        Part of the issue is that Sansa dismissed some of her errors as “sabotage “. She literally talked herself into believing she isn’t doing so badly. Magical thinking has allowed her to continue behaving on the sloppy side. She would likely be one who was shocked when she got fired since it was someone else’s fault.

  2. No Green No Haze*

    I rolled my eyes hard enough to get a glimpse of my brain. Regardless, I said nothing, as there is no reason for me to get involved in that which does not concern me.

    ^These two sentences made me happy in completely different ways. High-five.

  3. Cookie Captain*

    If Sansa has made errors because she’s spending too much time socializing, IMO they’re partially Arya’s mistakes as well.

    If you’re doing your own well work but contributing to the reason someone else’s work is poor, you are not a good employee.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Especially if Arya is more senior, which was the impression I had from OP’s original letter.

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      If Arya was interrupting Sansa, I would totally agree that partial blame lay with Arya. But Sansa is coming into their office even when Arya is gone so this is absolutely a Sansa issue.

      1. andream*

        Except that Arya needs to set a boundary with Sansa. It sounds like Arya is senior to Sansa. By Sansa taking up her time she is not only affecting her work but also Arya. Especially if on of Arya’s employees needs to come and talk to her. I belive in the original post the Letter Writer mentioned that when she came to ask a question she felt like she was inconveidencing arya if Sansa was there. This could turn into a big issue if an employee needing to speak to her about a confidential matter. For example if they were having an issue with another employee, or they were wanting to speak to her about FMLA accomodations and what needed to be done. By Sansa hogging all of the boss’s time she is affecting the whole team. Arya needs to see this and explain to Sansa that the socializing needs to be minimized.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          Arya is responsible for letting Sansa hang out with her and for the impact it has on Araya’s team aka OP, but Arya is not responsible for Sansa’s mistakes, that is all on Sansa.

        2. RC Rascal*

          Agreed. Arya is senior and needs to set the boundary. This situation isn’t good for either of them. Optically, it looks like Arya wants to hang out with a junior employee instead of concentrating on more important things. And Sansa has the outlined issues and isn’t taking accountability for them.

          They sound like a negative duo.

      2. valentine*

        Arya is allowing it, though, and feeding it by playing slumber party: being loud, including laughing/wheezing/clapping, and playing cards, sticking OP with work they could share, and being “irritated” when OP interrupts.

        1. amianai*

          Arya is responsible for her own actions, but she’s not responsible for “allowing” Sansa’s actions.

      3. EPLawyer*

        Arya is aware of the issues with Sansa’s work. She knows Sansa thinks she was “sabotaged” rather than taking ownership. Instead of reminding Sansa that she needs to concentrate on her work and doing it correctly, she is letting Sansa hang out. Possibly even encouraging the belief she was sabotaged.

        She is not doing Sansa any favors. Nor the company.

    3. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I disagree Sansa is an adult she should be responsible for her own mistakes. If Sansa is irresponsible/careless she could still be that way even if Arya was not giving her an outlet, Sansa might just find a different way to slack off on her own and then rush through the work.

      1. amianai*

        +1 unless Arya is Sansa’s supervisor, she is not responsible for Sansa’s work or time management, especially considering that Sansa will show up in LW’s office even when Arya is gone.

    4. designbot*

      This is a tricky line—Sansa is responsible for her own specific mistakes, but Arya as part of leadership is responsible for the overall tone and expectation setting. I wouldn’t hold her accountable for Sansa’s specific errors but would want someone to talk to her about what kind of example she’s setting.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I think Arya is showing that you can have social interactions at work as long as you are still productive and get all your work done.

        OP said in the update that the owners of the company are not an “everyone must be working 100% 8 hours of the day” but rather we trust you to be adults, do your work, and manage your own time. It seems that if Sansa were doing her work without mistakes the Sansa and Araya social hour would be okay. The actual issue is the mistakes in the work not the social hour.

        1. designbot*

          That could be what Arya believes she’s showing. But it seems like what she’s really showing is that it’s okay to disrupt your colleagues—remember that it has affected OP’s work too, not just Sansa’s.

  4. Amber Rose*

    I don’t like that Sansa is telling a manager that Ned is sabotaging her, even if it’s not his manager. That kind of thing has a tendency to explode into rumors and affect people’s future and reputation. Not to mention that, based on your previous letter, it doesn’t sound like these conversations are particularly quiet or subtle.

    1. Lance*

      Even worse, I don’t like the fact that OP said Sansa and Arya were speaking about it… not that Arya was shutting it down. Between that, and the socializing and the like, I’m giving Arya a real side-eye here just as well.

      1. CatCat*

        Yes, it seems very gossipy and happening because they’re best buds. This kind of gossip can really hurt people and Arya in particular should be nipping this in the bud, but isn’t because the professional and personal have been blurred.

        Honestly, if Sansa picks up her old ways as OP suspects she will, I don’t think OP can address the excessive, disruptive socializing with either one of them because Arya cannot be trusted with enforcing boundaries when the request concerns Sansa. I think OP will have to go the route of discreetly going above Arya as Alison suggested at the end of her advice to the original letter.

    2. hbc*

      I’ve never seen any claims of sabotage reflect badly on anyone but the claimant. It’s just so unlikely. I mean, maybe the rumor goes around that “Sansa says Ned sabotaged her work!!!,” but that’s more about enjoying the drama than actually believing Sansa.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Just because you have never seen it happen doesn’t mean it doesn’t. I actually have seen it happen. In more than one workplace. Telephone is more than just a game that kids play, it’s a legit phenomenon where things said often warp in some unbelievable ways.

  5. ellex42*

    It sounds like Sansa may, in time (and since her dept. is getting into the busy time of year, possibly not very much time), sabotage her own employment and permanently solve your problem. I’ll cross my fingers.

    Re: your assertion that Sansa and Arya are nice people who don’t actually mean to be inconsiderate…my experience is that most of the time, even people who are egregiously and breath-takingly inconsiderate don’t actually intend to be. They just never put any thought at all into how their actions affect those around them. This is, naturally, infuriating for those of us who do make the effort to be considerate of those around us. I’m currently within much-too-close earshot of several incredibly noisy coworkers (pen-tapping, fingernail tapping, foot-tapping, loud private phone conversations, yelling across the open office to other coworkers, and one person who frequently throws down their pen so hard it bounces off their desk and clatters to the floor) and have a great deal of sympathy for you.

    1. Triumphant Fox*

      “They just never put any thought at all into how their actions affect those around them” – but that actually is the definition of inconsiderate. Most people don’t tend to be malicious, but I think most people are actually pretty inconsiderate – it just never occurs to them to consider others first. They think about what they want or need in that moment and it drowns out the rest.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        That’s a fair point. I personally actively work on this because I can be inconsiderate. I try to be consciously aware of others and how I can be respectful to them. I think I’ve made progress over the years.

      2. River Song*

        I tend to think most people are considerate, but their perspective is skewed. I’m sure I’ve done or said plenty of things that have been inconsiderate, but because they wouldnt have bothered me, it didnt occur to me that it would bother others.
        I assume OP’s coworkers are lovely, nice, loud people who just don’t assume it bothers others because it wouldn’t bother them

        1. Quill*

          Yeah, exactly, and if OP hasn’t told them such, we shouldn’t expect them to suddenly know telepathically.

      3. ellex42*

        I didn’t say it’s not inconsiderate, because it 100% is. But like you, I believe in most cases it’s not intentionally malicious, just thoughtless.

        Doesn’t make them any less annoying!

      4. Eukomos*

        Right, which is why OP says that they don’t MEAN to be inconsiderate–of course they’re still doing it, but it’s not their goal. OP is saying they’re nice people, not that they’re considerate people.

      5. Perpal*

        It’s kind of a hard balance to strike between what becomes basically paranoia (“will someone dislike this noise? That nosie? This smell? That mannerism? Is this sloth pencilcase too distracting to others?”) and being completely self centered… I mean foot tapping is often involuntary. It’s possible to control it but then one has to be thinking “must not make any noise!” etc

        1. Perpal*

          … to clarify, I think it’s partially on others to /let people know/ if they’re being overly distracting, if it’s a reasonable request (and not “men and women need to line up in alternation” or “stop eating crackers”). It’s on the other people to listen and check in if modifications made are enough.

    2. Liz*

      “my experience is that most of the time, even people who are egregiously and breath-takingly inconsiderate don’t actually intend to be. They just never put any thought at all into how their actions affect those around them.”

      this so much. not work related but I have a relative who does this, will ask for things, etc. with absolutely no thought as to how it may inconvenience or affect others” But when you point it out, she just says “oh ok” Its not intentional, but it is annoying.

    3. InsufficentlySubordinate*

      I have, at times, considered carrying a small sign to show to people that says, “Other people besides you exist.” Particularly at concerts.

  6. WellRed*

    Another update in which the problem isn’t really solved. At least there’s some improvement?

    This is the second update this week where the OP has reminded us to take them at their word about the situation Though sadly, the comments on this morning’s letter about the workplace that may be shifting more conservative show that’s a tall ask for some.

    1. Glitsy Gus*

      It isn’t solved, but since Sansa has at least taken a break from spending most of the day lingering around it’s a perfect opportunity to set a “new normal.”

      Now, as long as OP is really ready to do it, if the Sansa Show starts increasing it’s broadcast time again OP has the perfect opportunity to say, “hey, sorry, but, could you guys keep it down a bit? I really need to concentrate right now,” or something similar. It’ll even be a good time to bring it up with Arya if it increases quickly, “Sansa has been visiting a lot more lately and, while she’s great, I find it’s really cutting into my ability to focus. I want to be able to do a good job, so if it’s possible could we try to keep the volume down a little bit?” or whatever feels appropriate. It’ll feel less out of nowhere since it won’t be a sudden ask after 365 days of constant Coffee Clutches where OP seems totally fine with the situation.

  7. Jh*

    Soo… Why write to ask a manager if you don’t want to learn the opinions of others? This is an opionionated bunch.

    Just keep doing your eye rolling thing at work then. Have fun with that…

    1. Youth*

      Eh. People aren’t writing in because they need or want to hear, “Actually, your assessment of these people you know is wrong. We’ve never met them, but we have better insight than you do.”

      1. MissBliss*

        Plus, someone is perfectly is perfectly justified in wanting Alison’s advice but not the commentariat. That would be fine too.

        1. valentine*

          “Actually, your assessment of these people you know is wrong. We’ve never met them, but we have better insight than you do.”
          The people-pleasing plus the description of Arya and Sansa as “fairly loud”/wheezing/clapping and hearing Sansa “a mile away” spells inconsiderate to me. Good behavior isn’t doing what you want unless someone objects and, being outnumbered and sharing space, I’d be unlikely to tell Arya, who dislikes me interrupting her BFF-fest, to keep it down or to do her share of our work.

      2. KayDeeAye*

        Yes, exactly. The OP wanted to know how to handle a situation. She didn’t want – or need – us to tell her alllllllll about the people that she knows quite well and that we know not at all.

    2. Elenna*

      There’s a pretty big difference between opinions on what to do next and opinions on what the current situation is. The former is what people write in for. The latter is something the OP presumably knows better than us, since it’s, y’know, their actual life.

      What does OP’s eye-rolling have to do with the rest of your comment?

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        That’s a good explanation on the different requests.

        The eye-rolling, tho – we have a pretty strong theme going in the commentariat that expressions of disdain (esp eye-rolling) are not productive, and even undermine the ‘respectful, professional demeanor’ that people should have at work. A recent OP (last week? this week?) got pretty reamed for saying they rolled their eyes. I wouldn’t put it as harshly as Jh, but OP should be a little cautious with that. Don’t let it become ‘normal’ just because Arya’s letting an unprofessional situation fester.

        1. Elenna*

          That’s a good point on stopping the eye-rolling. It came off weirdly to me when paired with Jh’s harsh/dismissive tone and with their first comment.

        2. TootsNYC*

          I have never taken a Letter Writer’s “I rolled my eyes” literally.

          I always assume that this is a mental thing, and that their actual, literal eyeballs inside their actual, literal eye sockets on their actual, literal skull do not in fact actually, literally move around in a circle.

          There’s this thing called a metaphor. I assume that’s what’s at play when people say, “I rolled my eyes” even if they don’t actually, literally write “mentally.”

          1. Jenny Craig*

            This is how I interpret the “eye rolling” comments, too. I assume it’s just an expression for “I thought to myself ‘This person is ridiculous.'”

          2. Quill*

            And even if you physically did you can do this in ways that vent your frustration without physically signalling it to other people.

            Take a moment. Close your eyes. Roll the heck out of them over the fact that we’ve gotten down to arguing about OP’s choice of facial expression.

            1. CC*

              I usually say, “I rolled my eyes so hard they fell right out of my head and rolled under the desk” but that has never literally happened (yet)

        3. Eukomos*

          There’s a difference between rolling your eyes at someone when they’re speaking to you and looking at your face, and doing it privately to yourself when you overhear them loudly discussing their excuses for their poor performance with their friends. As a means of communicating it’s super unprofessional, but as a private reaction to people being ridiculous it’s perfectly reasonable.

    3. Butthurt Buster*

      I don’t blame her one bit. The comments have become a shitshow lately; they devolve into people debating increasingly unrealistic scenarios and assuming that they know OP’s situation better than OP.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        I get it but her insistence that we’re all wrong for saying that these people are inconsiderate is what I have a problem with…it may not bother her much (or she just chooses to suck it up and deal), but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong about their behavior. Any co-workers who frequently engage in personal conversations to the point of interrupting other’s ability to work is inconsiderate, whether intentional or not. People who write into the blog are constantly brushing off rude and unacceptable behavior just because that behavior wasn’t meant to be harmful, and that doesn’t help any situation.

        1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

          I don’t see where she said the comments were wrong about them being inconsiderate. I thought it was in regards to the comments about their intentions were malicious and that they weren’t truly nice.

          Sometimes nice people behave inconsiderably. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person.

          1. Turtle Candle*

            That’s how I read it too–not that they’re not inconsiderate, but that they’re inconsiderate out of cluelessness/obliviousness rather than malice. Still not good, don’t get me wrong, but better than “they don’t care/are deliberately setting out to annoy me.” I’ve known very nice people to be inconsiderate and obnoxious just because they were kind of flaky or obtuse, so I can see it.

            1. Turtle Candle*

              Actually, I think that there’s a tendency that when we see things from the distance of an online column–especially given that letters are inherently limited in details and context simply for space–that we tend to want to categorize people very simply. They’re a nice person or a not-nice person, they’re the good guy or the bad guy. Sometimes that’s true (the boss in the post-masectomy letter, yikes), but often things in the real world are just more complicated than that–people can be considerate in most ways but fall down hard in others. “They’re not a nice person” makes a better and more straightforward story, though, so it appeals to our sense of narrative better than “they’re complicated and great in some ways and not so much in others.”

        1. Marthooh*

          “Just as LW hit ‘send’ on the update, Ned walked into the office, lazily flexing his broad, manly shoulders. ‘Sure is hot in here, don’t you think, LW?’ Slowly, he unknotted his paisley tie…”

    4. Hills to Die on*

      That wasn’t very nice. However, if I interpret your point correctly, you are saying that OP should do something about the situation and that she should take the advice of the commenters. But people do the best that they can. You would not have to ask me twice to stand up and say something, but you would also not have to ask the OP to stop being such a pit bull about Certain Things (note: I love pit bulls – they are sweet and affectionate but can have an aggressive side. Like me.)

      She’s doing the best that she can and is handling it the way she believes to best. That’s OP’s prerogative.

      1. TootsNYC*

        you are saying that OP should do something about the situation and that she should take the advice of the commenters.

        This is exactly why Captain Awkward never, ever asks for updates. (Her LWs’ topics are usually much more personal.)

    5. Lana Kane*

      Opinionated bunches can often indulge in behaviors that aren’t exactly helpful. Which I have been noticing happening here over the last few months or so.

    6. Etc.*

      Man, these comments these days. What a rude thing to say to someone who simply asked us to take her at her word regarding the behavior of people she personally knows.

    7. LQ*

      Because if you make up what’s happening you aren’t giving any advice. You’re writing real person fiction at best.

      If you take what the letter says and give opinions based on that you could be helpful.

      If everything was different than it was then it would be a different letter.

  8. Tzeitel*

    “In light of the comments and in rereading my initial post, I have come to realize that Sansa will often only stop by for 10-15 minutes once or twice for the first hour of two of the day.”

    Is it just me (maybe I’m misunderstanding), but that sounds vastly less of an imposition than how it was initially described? This actually doesn’t sound like an extreme level of socializing. Plus the information that Sansa may, in fact, not be very busy.

    1. Hills to Die on*

      I interpreted that as being just the morning, with increasing frequency starting mid-morning and through the rest of the day.

      1. OP*

        Correct – she would stop by briefly a few times in the morning, presumably knock all her work out over that first hour or two, and then spend long stretches of time in our office in the late morning/afternoon. She has since decreased the length of her visits and increased the frequency.

    2. KayDeeAye*

      I read that several times, too. Is the OP saying that Sansa’s visits are fairly short in the morning but then become more extended as the day goes on?

    3. londonedit*

      I read it as ‘…for the first hour or two of the day…[and then after that she’d be in the office all the freaking time]’. OP’s theory – in response to ‘how the heck does Arya even get any work done’ was that Arya managed to plough through most of her work during the relatively Sansa-free time at the start of the workday, meaning she then had time to chat away for the rest of the day.

    4. Two Dog Night*

      I think OP is saying Sansa only stops by a couple times for the first hour or two… but then is in OP’s office constantly the rest of the day.

    5. emmelemm*

      Yeah, the beginning of her update makes it sound like she’s saying she realized Sansa doesn’t actually spend as much time in her office as she thought (just that the time is annoying).

      But then at the end she says “She probably spends a collective 1.5 hours in here per day now, spread out into 15-30 minute increments,” which is a pretty substantial chunk of time.

      1. MistOrMister*

        Someone coming by and hanging out for that long every single day would drive me absolutely nuts. I might visit someone for up to half an hour but it would be once a week at the most. An hour and a half visiting people every single day seems outlandish to me.

    6. Coder von Frankenstein*

      That confused me too, but LW also says that Sansa is (after cutting back!) hanging out for a total of 1.5 hours per day.

      I think what it means is “For the first hour or two of the day, Sansa only stops by once or twice for 10-15 minutes. Later in the day, she spends more time here. Arya gets her work done in those first couple hours.”

  9. Hills to Die on*

    Well, if nothing changes, then nothing changes so I suspect that you are correct when you write that Sansa will probably slip back into her old pattern of hanging out in your shared office all day. And she will probably make additional mistakes.

    I would be so tempted to go to HER office and get work done there. It’s quiet and empty, and will certainly get the point across to management as well as Sansa and Arya. I know it’s very passive-aggressive – just wishful thinking on my part. In all seriousness, can you go work in a conference room or something if/when she starts hanging out in there all day? Can you go over Arya’s head, or even ask Arya if you can switch offices with Sansa?

    Please give us another update when you have one!

    1. Elenna*

      Unfortunately the original letter mentions that OP often works together with Arya on tasks, which is presumably easier if they’re in the same office (or at least it would be if Arya wasn’t distracted by Sansa’s presence).
      Although I’d be tempted to ask Arya about switching offices anyways, just to make a point. That’s probably more passive-aggressive than OP should really be, though.

  10. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Removed. Please respect the LW’s (and my) clearly stated request about this. – Alison

  11. Perpal*

    I am still a little confused and possibly misreading something
    “I have come to realize that Sansa will often only stop by for 10-15 minutes once or twice for the first hour of two of the day.” vs “I do know that Sansa’s time in our office has dropped tremendously. She probably spends a collective 1.5 hours in here per day now”
    It looks like Sansa was either spending around 20-30 min socializing all along (which seems reasonable!) vs 1.5 hrs /after/ cutting back. Which still sounds like too much! (unless one hour of that is lunch break)
    I agree it is disconcerting to hear Sansa is blaming others for her mistakes rather than taking ownership, and that perhaps Arya is agreeing with this rather than challenging it. I also agree it is not really OP’s lane to address though if OP was close with Arya a word in private again about how a) you can’t help but overhear about all the problems Sansa is having (since they are actively talking about them around you a lot) b) you know it’s not your responsibility and you have stayed out of it so far but c) the conversations are very distracting to you and now that busy season is on maybe it’s best for everyone if Sansa keeps visits under 30 min total/day, and maybe Arya can enforce that?

    1. Hills to Die on*

      I interpreted that as being just the morning, with increasing frequency starting mid-morning and through the rest of the day.

    2. Elenna*

      I think OP meant that Sansa was staying mostly away for the first couple hours of the day, while Arya got most of her work done, and then after that was when she spent the rest of the day hanging out. Otherwise it doesn’t fit at all with what OP said in the previous letter.

      1. Perpal*

        Yeah by the end of the letter I figured we’re still at at least 1.5 hrs a day of chatting, previously much more; was just thrown for a loop in the middle there. I think it’s worth OP explicitly telling Arya it’s distracting with the busy season and that under half an hour would be preferred, at least once. Since Arya seems mostly effective, if a little overindulgent of sansa.

    3. time bandit*

      Thank you for trying to clarify this- I was utterly confused by how “10-15 minutes once or twice for the first hour of two of the day” could be viewed as all day then switched to a collect 1.5 hours/day!

      1. SimplyTheBest*

        OP has clarified above. It’s 10-15 minutes once or twice for the first hour or two of the day (during which time Sansa also shoves in all the rest of her work for the day) and then long stretches through the late morning and all through the afternoon.

    4. fhqwhgads*

      I think the “realize” part applies to the fact that the pattern is different first thing in the morning than later in the day, not that she previously misjudged the overall time spent.

  12. surprisecanuk*

    There is really no way to know if her coworkers are knowingly being inconsiderate. I personally think they should know, but many people are unaware. The LW seems like the type of person who likes to give people the benefit of the doubt. Her boss and coworker may not deserve that.

    1. Etc.*

      Then perhaps it is on her boss or coworkers to vocalize that they think this behavior is inconsiderate — OP has pretty well spelled out that she would like us to take her at her word on her opinion of them and her interpretation of their lack of consideration. I don’t see how this comment or ones like it are helpful.

    2. Delphine*

      The LW is in a better position to make that call. Comment after comment speculating about the intentions of their coworkers and whether or not it’s accurate to call them “nice” are completely unconstructive. They give the LW no advice or tools but question the LW’s judgment about the people she works with.

  13. boop the first*

    Doesn’t really sound like too much has changed tbh. I kind of love your company’s overfill policy, if only because every job I had runs literally the opposite direction. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be able to stand the idleness.

    Not sure I would have been able to be quiet during their scheming of Ned! He doesn’t deserve to be harmed in this way.

  14. Oranges*

    Okay, the fact that Sansa literally blames others for her mistakes is… not a good thing. LW make sure you’re not tossed under the bus if you work with her.

    PS Oh gods, the comments of inconsiderate/nice or not are starting…. rolls eyes.

  15. Bopper*

    Keep this in your back pocket: “Is it possible you take this discussion to the conference room? I really need to concentrate on the TPS report.”

  16. MartiO*

    Can I just say…
    This company prefers to keep departments overstaffed rather than allow for times when employees would have to do OT, and they aren’t expecting you to busy every day, all day long???
    … What magical company is this, and are they hiring? LOL

    I recently split from a company that used to have downtime periods, but increasingly put pressure to “stay busy”. If we had downtime, it was expected that we should be cross-training into other positions or offering help to other departments, etc., to the point that it was getting a little ridiculous: the email server would crash for an hour, and managers would start standing up and verbally encouraging employees to find things to keep busy, to stay productive, don’t be lazy, etc. And even, say, using that time to do a simple task like dusting our desks or organizing a desk drawer was considered an inappropriate thing to be doing. And I know that in today’s modern world of immediacy all around us, I hear that’s common for most businesses, to expect employees to stay busy.

    So yes, just had to say that. LOL. But commenting on this directly, I’m glad the situation has improved, at least a little.

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