my early bird coworkers grumble that I start work later than they do

A reader writes:

Over the past months, my imminent return to the office has been pushed back several times until our leadership gave up and told us we were going to work from home for the rest of the year. Prior to the pandemic, I worked from 7:30-4:30 every day to beat an absolutely brutal commute downtown. Working earlier hours meant that I spent 40 minutes in the car every day instead of 90. Most of the office did the same, and it was common to have 8 am meetings just because everyone was already there around that time.

When I started working from home, I kept the same hours, but without the commute I’ve been getting lazier and finally talked to my boss about my start time. She told me she doesn’t care how I structure my schedule as long as I’m hitting 40 hours and don’t miss any meetings. Now I start around 9 most days and it’s made such an improvement to my life quality. I’m a night owl and was usually chronically sleep deprived starting so early.

My issue now is my coworkers, who seem to love starting at 7:30 so much they still do it. I’ve gotten multiple frantic messages at 7:45 am asking me a question and am met with frustration when I don’t answer until 8:30 (I do check my work email on my phone as soon as I wake up just in case there is anything important I need to start on right away). Meetings are still scheduled early in the morning and I’ve missed a few because I’ll get invited to a 8:30 meeting right at 8:00. The group chat has even featured a few snarky comments about how I’m probably still asleep when I don’t answer a message within five minutes.

To be clear, there’s no actual reason I need to start that early. There has never once been anything so urgent that I felt bad answering 45 minutes later, and I do have an emergency pager on my phone if something catastrophic should happen requiring my immediate attention.

I’ve tried mentioning to the people that are most offended that I usually start closer to 9, but they don’t seem to get it and keep pestering me early in the morning. How do I make my coworkers let me enjoy my sleepy mornings?

Sometimes in this situation, the answer is that even though your boss says your hours can be flexible, the reality of the work is that you need to be there earlier because that’s when things are happening and/or colleagues need to be able to reach you then.

But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case in your situation. The questions people are sending you at 7:30 am aren’t urgent ones; your coworkers just want an immediate answer, and probably are noticing it even more now that they know you’re regularly starting later than they do. So if your boss is fine with your schedule and there’s no negative impact on your team’s work, this should be okay to do.

The possible exception to that are those last-minute meetings. Your boss said she was fine with your schedule as long as you don’t miss any meetings, but it sounds like you’ve missed a few because they were scheduled without any advance notice.

So I would do three things:

1. When you end work for the day, set an auto-responder on your email that lists your regular hours, and turn it off when you start work each morning. If people get a reply with your hours whenever they email you early in the morning, (a) it will remind them they won’t get a response until your workday starts and (b) it will reinforce that this is your actual, official schedule, not you just oversleeping because you’re lazy. (This assumes your boss is okay with this being your formal schedule, enshrined in writing.)

2. Talk to your boss about how meetings are scheduled. Explain your schedule is working well, you’re better rested and more productive, but a few times a meeting has been announced at 8 for 8:30 and you didn’t see the announcement until you started at 9. Ask if she’d be open to requesting that morning meetings be scheduled no later than the night before (or even that they not be scheduled before 9, if you don’t think that would be pushing it). If she’s not up for doing that, then the reality is that this schedule might not meet the criteria she set out for you (“as long as you don’t miss any meetings”) … but even then, waking up at 8 would still be an improvement on what you were doing before.

But for the record, announcing meeting with only 30 minutes notice isn’t a great way to do things in most cases, even if you’re all on the same schedule. People can be on calls or immersed in something else and not see that email in time, or simply have something else already slated for that block.

3. Consider addressing your coworkers’ grumbling head-on. For example: “Guys, can you lay off the snark about my hours? This is my official schedule, approved by (boss), and it’s getting old. If it ever causes a problem for you, please let me know but I’m working the same amount I always have, just shifted forward slightly now that we’re not commuting.” You could add, “It’s been better for my health, so I’m happy to be doing it.”

It might even be worth saying, “If any of you want to do the same, you should talk to (boss). She was open to being flexible as long as I’m meeting my hours and getting my work done.” Maybe they think you’re getting away with something you shouldn’t be, and spelling that out will help. Who knows, maybe some of them will even do the same.

Will that solve the problem entirely? Maybe, maybe not. It should cut down on it, but we live in a society that has assigned a weird virtue to getting up early. Starting your eight hours of work at 7 am isn’t somehow more virtuous than starting at 9 am or 10 am, yet culturally it’s still sometimes treated that way. It’s a weird bit of puritanism that we haven’t fully shed yet.

{ 345 comments… read them below }

  1. Daniel*

    Hell, perhaps if enough of your coworkers ask the boss to start later, then maybe these 8:00 or 8:30 meetings will be a thing of the past, because not enough people will start early enough to have them!

    Until then, though, definitely ask your boss about these early meetings. If there’s going to be a deal-breaker with the new schedule, that would be it. Everything else sounds fine.

    1. Momma Bear*

      Or have them on a specific day so OP can prepare/not schedule something else. What’s the saying – poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine?

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Recurring team meetings scheduled on a specific day and at a specific time every time have been a thing at nearly every place I’ve worked.

        2. Momma Bear*

          It’s a two part problem – that meetings are scheduled last minute and that meetings are scheduled earlier that one person’s known start time. Moving meetings to a set cadence would allow OP to prepare/plan for an early day as necessary and also put the meetings on a time/day that works for the early folks. I have had jobs where we had to pick a time across multiple time zones and it was a little early for some, but we always knew when it was going to be, so people planned accordingly.

          1. alienor*

            Exactly. I have a weekly meeting that’s at 7 am my time because the project team is spread all over the world, and it’s fine because I know in advance and can plan for it.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          There is nothing custom about posting “core hours” as approved by a manager. It’s better for the business in many cases — if you have some people start early and some people start late, you get longer coverage for responding to issues.
          I’ve worked both ends — when I was morning parent, I worked until 6p and picked up projects for co-workers who left at 4pm. When I switched to homework parent, I got in at 6am and tackled urgent requests in a way that sometimes meant preventing a linestoppage on the factory floor.

          1. Mongrel*

            “There is nothing custom about posting “core hours” as approved by a manager”

            And looking at the letter it looks like the early starts were the ‘custom hours’.

        4. Not A Girl Boss*

          Is there any actual need to meet that early, though? Why is this such an awful thing to ‘accommodate’? Why can’t we all just work on being decent team players who accommodate a variety of work time preferences into our meeting schedules? If there’s no reason a perfectly normal start time won’t work other than “because I want 8:30 meetings,” its just start-time-morality-policing.

          I’ve had previous experiences where it never even occurred to my coworkers to ‘need’ meetings at 1pm, until I got a special accommodation approved to care for a family member that required me to take 2 hour lunches. Suddenly, she ‘had’ to have all meetings at 1pm, despite there being 7 other hours a day available for meetings. When my boss got her to knock that off, she’d start scheduling them at 2pm and then loudly complaining if I frantically ran in at 2:01pm because of traffic or whatever.

          1. Tired of Covid-and People*

            People can be so mean and lack empathy. Our present situation is really emphasizing this terrible aspect of human nature. Nastiness for the sake of being nasty. Ugh.

          2. TardyTardis*

            I remember when I landed that 9-6 position, people actually were not jealous because most of them were early birds, and didn’t like staying that late (they were worried about my safety because the place could be pretty deserted, but the building had good security, and I was careful to park where my car was right under a lamp post, and my route to it was also pretty well lit). And there were always a few people left in the place, Because Workaholics. I *adored* it. I was also a lot more helpful when I first went to work, because I’m not quite a night owl, I’m a swing shifter, and asking me questions at 7:30 am was not always helpful to them or me. But by 3-4 pm, they would start to wilt while I was powered up.

        5. Antilles*

          1.) It’s not clear that the meetings actually need to be at 8:30 AM rather than simply “this is convenient for me”.
          2.) Working around someone’s schedule is common when you’re scheduling group meetings – if you’re organizing a meeting, you really should be scheduling around people’s availability.
          3.) Notifying someone at 8:00 AM that you’re having a meeting at 8:30 AM isn’t good planning. Maybe I need to prepare something for the meeting, maybe I’m already in another meeting, maybe I have a tight deadline, hell maybe I just am focusing on writing a report and not staring at my email 24/7. Unless you *really* have a decision that came out of nowhere that needs an ASAP answer, you really should be scheduling stuff further in advance.

          1. Kyrielle*

            All of this. What if, instead of having a later start time, one coworker was always unavailable at 8:30 am two days a week because they had standing meetings with clients/other teams at that time, and the meetings frequently landed on top of those, often with 30 minutes of warning?

          2. Dust Bunny*

            I would argue that if it’s common to have 8:30 meetings and for them to be announced at 8:00, this is something the LW knows happens and should expect. (I know that my department staff meetings are usually at 9:00 and are sometimes called at short notice, so I don’t plan to be inaccessible around that time, or I let my boss know ahead that I won’t be there.)

            8:30 isn’t early. If it works for everyone except the LW who doesn’t want to get there before that, why mess up everyone else’s schedule to accommodate her?

            1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

              Calling whole teams together on short notice isn’t standard across all industries, though. I’ve had jobs where that did happen occasionally and was a cultural norm, but would be strange at my current job and only done in case of emergency. If someone’s scheduling meetings with 30 minutes notice, I’d say they’re the one messing up the schedule…by your logic, why should the LW accommodate them?

            2. Antilles*

              If you actually have a firm business case for having a meeting at 8:30 AM, why doesn’t the co-worker send out the invite the day before? These meetings are consistently (1) so urgent that it can’t wait a few extra minutes for everybody to be available *and* (2) so short-notice that they couldn’t have given OP a heads-up the day before? I’m skeptical.
              Combined with the snarky comments made by OP’s co-workers, I find it FAR easier to believe “the co-workers are just being rude” than “there is no feasible way to schedule these meetings ahead of time”.

          3. JustDesj*

            I agree.
            I do believe that meetings can be scheduled around everyone’s availability some how.
            Generally, not everyone goes to a meeting, so the few that must attend can work around each other’s schedules.

            When it comes to other coworkers being disrespectful and gossiping, that shows a lack of respect for their peers and a lack of professionalism. I think that this should be discussed with management and possibly some team building and training exercises. That behaviour should not be tolerated. This creates a terrible culture in an organization. When someone does not feel values, or satisficed in the environment that they work in, they are likely to go elsewhere. The turnover of employees is likely to become high. Feeling the need to defend yourself after you have made arrangements with your boss is uncalled for. Personal reasons should not be discussed with coworkers unless there is a friendship that as evolved. No one should have to justify what their discussion was with their boss.

            This is just my own observation.

        6. Jackalope*

          Having a meeting set at the same time on the same day each week isn’t working around one person’s custom schedule; it is providing regularity for that person (and everyone else) to plan their schedules around the business needs of the employer. It not only benefits the OP, but also anyone else who might need to schedule things like doctors appts (which they can schedule either avoiding the meeting day, or perhaps if they don’t need to be at the meeting, scheduling them deliberately that day so the time they’re missing doesn’t keep them from getting stuff done with the people who would be in that meeting), appointments with clients, long phone calls, etc. It’s to everyone’s advantage if the meetings are predictable.

        7. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          As the one person who worked part-time in my previous job, I’d have been furious if meetings were scheduled after I was supposed to have left to pick up my kids. That’d be discrimination since I was also the only mother working there.
          OP could probably make an effort to start at 8.30 if she knows there’s a meeting scheduled. And I think it’s rather mean to schedule a meeting when you know somebody is not there and probably won’t be until after the meeting has finished.

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              maybe not in the US but in France it would. Discriminating against someone or being a mother (=woman) is sexual discrimination.

        8. Coffee Bean*

          It’s not so custom where people cannot arrive at a schedule for meetings that works for all. There is a difference of 90 minutes in workday schedules. This leaves ample time to arrange calls that fit within all schedules. LW also identified the questions emailed before LW’s start time are not urgent. This is not a situation where there is one outlier starting at noon each day whereas everyone else starts at 7:30 am.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, this. I don’t think the problem is the early schedule as much as the last-minute scheduling. I bet if there was a genuine business need for it, the LW would be prepared to get up an hour earlier one day a week to make it on time to an early meeting. The last-minute scheduling smacks of poor planning. Is it your boss or someone else who’s scheduling the meetings at the last minute? If it’s your boss, they’re sending mixed messages, if it’s someone else, Alison’s suggestions sound great.

    3. LCH*

      the problem is definitely short-notice meetings and not early morning meetings. meetings for multiple staff members should have more notice than 30 min. especially morning meetings. unless these aren’t meetings that require any preparation and, if not, what is the freaking point? just to sit around and chat? sounds like that meeting could be an email.

  2. TootsNYC*

    Send them questions after they’ve “left for the day.” And get snarky when they don’t answer.
    Invite them to a meeting a half-hour before YOUR quitting time.

    No, I guess not.
    But I’d feel free to “rustle papers” (send queries, etc.) and also mention, “Good night, everyone. If you need to leave me anything to finish up, remember I’ll be here for another hour, since my hours are 9 to 6”

    1. Momma Bear*

      This is an interesting point – unless they frequently answer after hours email, they have no room to talk.

      1. cncx*

        yup, the people who ride me about not showing up at the crack of dawn are absolutely not reachable past four pm. funny how that works lol

    2. Absurda*

      My snarky mind immediately thought of this, too : ) Probably best not to do this, but I bet it would feel good.

    3. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

      This is awesome! I don’t know-you might want to try it just a couple of times if they aren’t the type to answer email after hours. Hey, they are no better for starting earlier than you ending later.

    4. Aggretsuko*

      Oh, please do this!

      My team all work earlier hours than I do. I’m not allowed to schedule meetings for them past 3:30, so why the hell is someone allowed to schedule you at 8?

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        We have core hours of 9-3. I feel no meetings should be scheduled outside of this. And you should have a damn good reason to schedule a meeting 30 minutes before the start time.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I am not properly conscious before 9am. In fact today, I walked into the door frame in the early afternoon. I have a fatigue disorder but I don’t think it’s unusual to be not at your best in the early hours. Heck, it isn’t even light at 7.30am half the year here. There should definitely not be meetings at that time.

          1. Red 5*

            I had a moment reading your comment trying to figure out if it’s already commented because SAME. I used to get to work early because my commute demanded it, but it also meant I was out before my regular scheduled mid afternoon slump hit (I’m part time). Having a disorder means I’m hyper aware of the limited hours that I’m a functioning human and that early in the morning ain’t it. Thankfully our culture at work generally is no meetings before 10a. But I’ve definitely been snarky about anything scheduled such short notice. “I’m sorry I didn’t see this note, I’m not at work then, but please send me any notes I need.”

            The thing I’ve learned having an alternate schedule though is nobody can remember it. Not even my boss.

          2. Mongrel*

            “I am not properly conscious before 9am.”

            I think it varies person to person, some people seem to genuinely prefer getting up at stupid-O’clock, others do so from habit.
            What gets on my goat is how insufferably smug they get when telling me “You’re missing half the day”

            1. beans*

              Yes, and those are the people getting into bed at 9 pm when I’m productive for hours after that – but that’s less virtuous because…reasons? If I got up and studied/wrote at dawn instead then I’d see more sunrises, but I can’t see I’d otherwise be a better human for it. I’m up and about for the same number of hours as anyone else!

            2. Dust Bunny*

              9:00 is mid-morning for me and I’m usually immersed in a project and super annoyed when somebody wants to interrupt it for a meeting that we could have gotten out of the way already.

              1. BubbleTea*

                That’s the point though, isn’t it? Any time will be inconvenient for someone because meetings are inconvenient, but I think there’s a difference between “due to a medical condition I have worked extremely hard to get under control so that I can hold down a job, I cannot attend meetings prior to 9am” and “I would prefer to have meetings first thing because I don’t like being interrupted mid-flow”. Rather like “I need meetings to be on the ground floor because I can’t walk up stairs due to my physical disability” compared to “I prefer the second floor office because it has a better view, let’s have the meeting upstairs”.

        2. Diahann Carroll*

          Yes – my company observes core hours as well. I, and a couple others on my team, would never be able to make a meeting before 9.

        3. tangerineRose*

          Unless it’s truly urgent, or it’s been agreed by the people in the meeting, I think it’s just rude to schedule a meeting 30 minutes before the start time.

        4. Lilian*

          Our core hours are 11-16, we don’t have meeting until 11am unless it’s with customers, and we survive perfectly well.

        5. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Core hours for the win! The entire purpose of core hours is to have common meeting time that will inconvenience no one. It really isn’t that hard. And there is nothing virtuous about coming in early. I worked with folks holding that attitude, and they killed a lot of time finishing grooming tasks, eating, reading the paper. It was bull. I reminded them that while they were likely digesting their dinner, I was still in the office. So glad those days are over.

      2. sofar*

        I feel this so hard. I start my day playing catchup on all the messages I missed between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. And the second I sign on at 9, I’m bombarded with “DID YOU GET MY DM?” messages. But if I need to reach someone after 5 p.m., it’s a ghost town and is considered beyond rude for me to reach out.

    5. Green great dragon*

      Don’t get snarky but absolutely send emails up to the moment you leave. And if there’re others on a slightly later schedule, you could set up meetings with them. (It’s tempting to say invite your early co-workers to 5.30 meetings, but don’t actually do that).

    6. HoHumDrum*

      I don’t know that this would make the impression you’re hoping for.

      I’ve known enough early-bird types who find being up early inherently superior to staying up late, and they would absolutely interpret “after-hours” questions/emails as proof of *your* laziness and procrastination rather than a commentary on different work hours. Like, “Well you wouldn’t need to be emailing me at all hours of the night* if you were just a better and more disciplined person who started her day at a decent hour! Sit and stew on my lack of response as a sign you need to get your shirt together and start waking up on time.”

      There’s just a lot of cultural baggage around what time of day “counts” as work, IME, and morning people get a lot of societal reinforcement that the way they do things is the most “correct”. Or at least that’s been my experience as a natural night owl in a world of proud early risers.

      *anytime after 4 lol.

      1. Filosofickle*

        Absolutely true. After 25 years, I still find myself being apologetic or self-deprecating about starting later than others because there’s a strong cultural belief that my way is “lazy”. People definitely believe that starting early is more professional / productive / virtuous. (And this bias is in my brain too or I wouldn’t be apologizing.)

        I’ve definitely encountered colleagues who were both irritated and envious. My second real job, I negotiated to start at 9 when everyone else started between 7:30 and 8:30. I caught a fair amount of flak for it — Why do YOU get start later than everyone else?! Told them it was because I negotiated. They were dumbfounded. It didn’t occur to them this was even possible. For the two years I worked there, there was always a bit of running snark about my schedule being different.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          And you get to stay later than everyone else too! Adults can be so childish sometimes.

        2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yeah! I used to finish my day earlier, in order to pick my kids up from school. People would often remark that they’d love to swan off in the “middle of the afternoon” and I would shoot back with a “would you also love to be paid only to work until 5.30?” I mean, sure it’s great to leave early but I didn’t get paid for that time (and ironically, parenting in the early evening is always far harder than anything you might get to do in an office).
          I suppose I could have said, OK, let me finish up your work, while you race to pick up the kids, get them home, feed them a snack, clear up while helping them with their homework, sign all messages from teachers, cook them a proper well-balanced meal, clear up, give them both a bath, check for nits in their hair, change the pillowcases again, get them to brush their teeth and pee and remember to flush and then read them a bed-time story.

      2. Engineer*

        I never understood this. I can burn the oil way late into the night with no problem. Need me to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7am? Go catch a squirrel and bring me a Red Bull.

      3. NonprofitDatabaseAdmin*

        This situation is very interesting to me as a morning person. I definitely agree there ought to be core hours for meetings, etc. I do find the customary earlier hours refreshing in a culture that—in my experience, which I recognize is not everyone’s—caters more toward night owls. That being said, however, I certainly wouldn’t be snarky about other people’s differing schedules or schedule meetings only half an hour ahead of time.

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yeah, as a fellow morning person there are weird prejudices on both ends and as far as I can tell the ideal person sleeps about 4 hours from midnight-4am. If you don’t want to start work until 10am you’re lazy and unambitious, but if you want to get to sleep at 10pm you’re boring and have no social life.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Definitely let them know, and fake the cheer to deflate them.
      When I was starting early, it was common to hear someone say something snarky like “must be nice” when I said good night on my way out at 3pm. I got used to cheerily saying “Yes it is. It’s the best part about getting here at 5:30am!” ….and watching jaws drop.
      Likewise, when I was starting later, the standard snark was “nice of you to join us”…and I’d cheerily say “If you’d like to take over the 6pm meetings with Asia I’d love to go back to normal hours!” For some reason no one took me up on that.

      1. tangerineRose*

        “It’s the best part about getting here at 5:30am!” Good for you! Reminding people why you get out early.

    8. You want me here when?*

      Actually I did do this to my coworkers.

      I was a 9 am start person and others would start at 7. But then I would work until 6 or 7. My boss came to me and said, “The business people would like you to come into work earlier.” I looked at him and said, “Well I think the business people need to start arriving at 9, because they don’t do any work between 7 and 9, since I never have answers to e-mails I sent them night before.” We were all working one big project, which was everyone’s top priority and my e-mails concerned that. Once that complaint was filed, no one ever asked me to come in early again.

    9. Anon today:*

      Yes. I work in the wee hours. Very wee. My coworker who works 10-6 consistently called me during the afternoons until I pointed out this was similar to if I called him at 4 a.m. The mid-afternoon calls stopped.

    10. Yoz*

      OP, I’d like to understand where your colleagues are coming from. So, I would be interested to know:
      1. Do people in your office typically work longer than the 40 minimum hours? There are industries where just 40 hours doesn’t fly (I’m looking at you public accounting!), irrespective of what the manager says
      2. Are you actually working later than your colleagues, i.e. logging off at 6pm instead of 4.30pm? If you start work after your colleagues and end at the same time as them, I could see how this could cause resentment.
      3. How is your performance otherwise, OP? Have there been any instances where you haven’t pulled through for your colleagues, and this is how they’re expressing their frustration?

    11. Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery*

      One day in my old job when I was running out the door to pick up the kids from daycare, a colleague made some comment about “don’t you just love mum hours?” so I responded “I don’t remember seeing you here when I started at 7.30 this morning” and he never said anything again.

      I worked in a industry where starting at 10am and finishing 7pm or so was the norm. And then they’d often go to the gym or pub for a few hours at lunchtime. My specific job did not require that schedule, so I didn’t work it, but it was amazing how many people failed to grasp the concpet of object permanence.

    12. YA Author*

      Yep. I got some mild snark from early risers for being a 10-6er, so I often sent my end-of-day emails just before leaving the office in the evening—often between 7 and 8 pm. (There was no need for me to be in earlier, and my boss was fine with my later hours as long as I arrived on time for pre-scheduled earlier meetings.)

      But Americans have this weird early-morning-is-better mentality, and some of my coworkers teased me about my hours. In a friendly way, of course. By sending emails later—even if I finished drafting them at, say, 5:00–I underscored that I was working hard too.

  3. Momma Bear*

    Many offices have “core hours” during which people are expected to be available. If OP’s office doesn’t specify, then perhaps talk to the boss about it. If everyone is in the office between say 9 and 4, then that’s when meetings should be held. I would be irritable about meetings being scheduled 30 mins in advance – even if my “tour of duty” was 7:30, what if that day I had an appointment? A flat tire? Another meeting? That doesn’t give time to plan and prepare. There are also a lot of people getting kids lined up on distance learning before 9AM. Parents may be interested in shifting their day if that improves their mornings. OP may want to directly address the snark, “My work hours are currently 9-6. If you need something urgently before 9AM, you can reach me via…”

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      This is the right answer.

      OP, you need to ask your boss to set “core hours” and make it clear to everyone that they are allowed to schedule their hours beyond that however they like.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I think the problem is that 8am (or similar) has become the de facto start of “core hours”.

        1. old curmudgeon*

          I’d say it’s more that “core hours” haven’t been defined at all. The snarky early birds are just assuming that core starts at 8.

          1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            Exactly! They haven’t been explicitly defined, but 8am has become ‘core hours’ for all intents and purposes as that’s how it’s been treated. Sometimes things just evolve in to particular patterns without an official policy or ‘definition’ having been laid out.

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        Eh, I don’t know if asking the boss to set core hours is the right approach to solve one person’s schedule expectation frustrations. The OP asked permission to flex their hours; it seems like a much bigger deal to now ask the boss implement and enforce a new policy. There’s a risk this could backfire on the OP.

        1. KateM*

          I got the feeling that OP starting 7:30 to beat commute was already because of flexible hours – now they just flexed it back.

        2. Diahann Carroll*

          But setting core hours isn’t just for OP’s benefit. Like was pointed out above, things come up – people can wake up not feeling well and need a couple hours to pull it together enough to work; kids could need to be set up for virtual schooling and have tech issues; hell, OP’s coworkers could have tech issues early in the morning. Setting core hours from 9-3 gives people wiggle room to deal with life stuff while also ensuring no one misses out on meetings and other important work. I don’t think it would hurt at all for OP to ask the boss to clarify this for the group.

        3. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

          Core hours is a pretty standard business practice, so I don’t think it would be an issue – but it’s a conversation OP should have with their manager. Of course, you get people who ignore core working hours, like my current team :-/ and then it’s up to the individual to push back, or not.

    2. Sleepytime Tea*

      Yep, this. We have more “unofficial” core hours on our team, but the consensus is that we don’t have meetings before 9am without planning and checking to make sure people will be available. If it will be earlier than that, it DEFINITELY needs to be sent out with decent notice (not 30 minutes) because people may not see it.

      Next time someone freaks out that you aren’t available for a last minute meeting, I would simply reply with a shrug and “sorry guys, that meeting was very last minute and I didn’t get a chance to see it ahead of time. To make sure I’ll be available, I will need more notice.”

    3. Bostonian*

      Yeah, it sounds like there needs to be a cultural standard on core hours that people need to be there for, which they can flex their 8 hours around. Since I work in a city with notoriously abysmal rush hour traffic, our core hours were more like 9:30 to 3:30 when we were in the office.

      That being said, with people not commuting and everyone’s schedule being disrupted by the pandemic, there’s a lot more flexibility. I find it really odd that OP’s coworkers are so hung up on this. This should be a time of MORE understanding and flexibility, not less.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I’m intrigued about changing working hours around traffic!

        e.g. I’m salaried (in the UK, where things work a bit differently like we don’t have the exempt/non-exempt distinction) with contractual hours of 9-5 that can be varied by arrangement, but it’s normally expected that most people will start at 9.00.

        For a while I had horrendous traffic, like the journey into work that would normally take 35-40 minutes started taking up to 2 hours (or more if there was an accident or such like on the way)…

        I didn’t get to decide that I’d just start earlier though to avoid it – my start time was 9.00 and that’s that!

        In practice I left the house at 6.30 instead of 7 so that it would ‘only’ take (e.g.) 75 minutes and I’d be about 95% sure of being at work on time, at the cost of being over an hour early almost every day, rather than 2 hours and probably be on time 90% of the time. I couldn’t get back the hour+ at the end of the day so had the choice to work an extra hour+ every day or wait in the car / take a walk etc in the morning.

        We have billable hours so an extra hour every day on non-urgent work would soon be noticed!

        The problem with moving working hours around because of “traffic” is that it fails the “what would it be like if everyone did that” test (because rush hour would just shift accordingly). It only works because some people have the privilege to be able to switch their working hours around, at the cost of others who have a more fixed schedule.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          “The problem with moving working hours around because of “traffic” is that it fails the “what would it be like if everyone did that” test (because rush hour would just shift accordingly).”

          But that’s true only if everyone shifted their work hours to the same new hours. If everyone used to start at 9, but now some start at 9:30, and some start at 7:30, and some start at 8:15, it wouldn’t have the same effect as it would if everyone moved from all starting at 9 to all starting at the same new time

          1. KateM*

            Where I live, people say that the rush hour traffic goes considerably down for school holidays – because schools start all more or less at the same time so parents drop their kids off and continue to their jobs, while, with no need to drop kids off, the start of working-day is much more spaced out. Of course there are jobs where you must be at exact time, to open a store, to answer phones, etc, but there are also quite a lot of such where it doesn’t matter so much, as long as there is enough time to see your colleagues.

            1. BubbleTea*

              Yes, if I didn’t know local school term dates due to some of my side work and friends’ kids, I would know based on how long it takes me to get my dog to nursery and back home to start work at 9am. It’s remarkable how much difference it makes.

          2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            Yeah, I glossed over it a bit but the fact is the “traffic” of course isn’t just some external thing that sits outside of you. It’s just the sum of everybody’s whereabouts and actions… so if a lot of people say “traffic is lighter early in the morning so we’ll start early” that’s just a natural consequence and rush hour will shift slightly earlier or spread out more, and then that will change other people’s behaviour, and so on… it would be constantly in flux.

            I think in the example given, the 9.30 “core hours” start time was because people were nominally working to a 9.00 start but were often late due to ‘traffic’.

            “You’re not ‘stuck in traffic’ … you are part of the traffic!”

          3. Charlotte Lucas*

            Also, that’s assuming that everyone has a typical office job & is coming from the same place. One summer I worked in a bindery. I beat traffic by being at work right before rush hour started. And delivery people, first responders, and other types of jobs often have early start times.

          4. Momma Bear*

            Locally a lot of people start their work days crazy early like 6AM because traffic can be really bad. One of my coworkers simply stays late any day they are here past 4 because leaving then puts their commute at 2 hrs vs 45 minutes if they leave more like 7PM. When I had a commute to another city, leaving even 10 minutes “late” would make my travel 1.5 hrs instead of less than 1 hr. There were so many 6 AM folks at one client office that we needed a reallly good reason to hold a meeting past 2:30. It was definitely a ghost town by 3.

            1. Windchime*

              Yeah, when I was commuting to downtown Seattle, I would leave my house at 5:15 in order to get to work by 6 AM. If I was shooting for 8 AM, I would have had to leave the house no later than 6 AM. And on the way home, I would add another 15 or 20 minutes to my commute for every 10 minutes later I left. Seattle traffic is horrible, horrible, horrible and I am so glad I don’t have to deal with it any longer.

            2. Alice's Rabbit*

              I remember one job where, if I left before 7, my commute was only 10 minutes. But if I left at 7:01, bam! Traffic jam that more than tripled my commute. Had to do with the local school schedule. There was another crazy traffic influx at 9, once the elementary schools started.

        2. comityoferrors*

          I’m not sure that it does fail that test! That’s assuming that everyone feels awake and ready for the day at the same time. My anecdotal experience tells me that is not the case. My partner is a total night-owl but he hates working late, so he chooses to start work at 7AM so he can be home earlier. I’m an early-bird but I like to do things with my morning and work later, so when I was starting at 8AM with an hour-long commute, I kept trying to fit one last thing in and I was late (or entirely absent because I was running so late) over and over and over. I was an otherwise exceptional employee, so even though I have a very fixed schedule, my boss worked with me to push my start and end time back an hour. I haven’t been late or missed a day since my schedule change, so I’m happier and my boss is also happier.

          If everyone had the option for ‘flexible’ hours, within a general morning time-block, I think people would self-sort pretty well and it would still make a big difference on the “rush hour” block. I also think that would help people with more fixed schedules, honestly – if I’m not on the road because I’m leaving earlier or later than you are, then you don’t have to deal with me on the road taking up space. It really sucks that you have to leave so early and spend such a long time just waiting to work! IMO we should try to move away from that, not hope that everyone has to do it for the sake of equity.

          1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            Hmm, maybe this is a US/UK difference sort of thing, as I think here (UK) anyone wanting to “choose to” start work at 7am (or 10am or whatever time suits) would be looked at like they have two heads, as pretty much all jobs have a standard attendance requirement and a need to notify your manager if you are running more than, say, 10 minutes late.

            “Persistent lateness” has been in the handbook as a disciplinary ‘offence’ in all the companies I’ve worked for, that would result in a reprimand after repeated occurrences. Formal change of working hours is only on the basis of an official HR process, and then results in a contractual change that then can’t be revisited within a year (unless you make an unofficial arrangement with your manager, in which case it’s in danger of being overturned for political reasons at any minute).

            I’m a senior-level professional at the highest level of “individual contributor” (subject matter expert sort of thing, I have “consultant” level of expertise but work in-house) and have to adhere to this, as do all of my IC and middle management colleagues of all levels — of course there’s more leeway for senior management and above but that’s about it — and that’s been true of all of the places I’ve worked over my 20 year career!

            I think that “equity” is probably the biggest leveller and way of fostering good will, honestly.

            1. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

              Could be an industry thing (rather than UK/US)? I’ve worked in a few office jobs in London & South East where I’ve been able to shift my start (and finish time) for commutes etc.

              1. TechWorker*


                Also work in U.K. and most people do 9-5.30 or 9.30-6 but early birds are totally allowed to start early and leave at 4.

                1. ThePinkLady*

                  I work in the public sector in the UK and we have core hours of 10-4, and we work out how we want to fulfil the rest of our 36 hours flexibly around that. Meetings are scheduled in core hours. So even office based folks have a good deal of autonomy about their schedules (I’ve been a homeworkers for over a decade). Trusting people and judging them on their outputs rather than their hours in a seat is by far the best way to get the most out of people.

                  For me, I used to be at my desk by 8.15, but since perimenopause hit, I’ve had trouble with mornings, and now I start at 10. It’s been a great way to enable me to manage my health and work more effectively during the day. This was all at my manager’s suggestion. I’m grateful for my organisation’s attitude to work-life balance, and struggle to see why others (unless bound by hours for retail etc) can’t offer similar conditions.

              2. Calpurrnia*

                Seems very much industry-dependent. My husband worked in the UK for 8 years and they had very flexible schedules – meetings were never scheduled before 11am, even though some folks with kids came in earlier. He’s a video game developer; flexible schedules and later starts are the norm in the gaming industry.

              3. Zoe Karvounopsina*

                My previous job had core hours of 10:00-16:00, and you could start and end at any time as long as you worked 7 hours, and took at least half an hour for lunch. My current job requires me to have set hours because I cover meetings and assist with diaries, but one of my colleagues starts ‘when ready’.

            2. Eleanor Shellstrop*

              This isn’t true for all. I work in the UK in a very large corporate and we have plenty of flex (at least for office based roles, it is more like you say for client facing roles). I’ve never notified my manager because I was running late, unless I was going to be in well after my normal time, and that’s more for courtesy and so they didn’t worry

            3. Rez123*

              I don’t think it’s an UK/US thing. I know plenty of people who have flexi-time in the UK. They usually have to be in the office by x – time but otherwise they can choose.

              The train (direct, fast) my bf likes to take leaves at 4pm or 6pm. He picks his morning train based on which train he wants to take back.

            4. Mockingdragon*

              I mean I wouldn’t expect every job to be ok with a person just choosing on their own what their hours are without telling anyone. You may be picturing something different. Typically the way I’ve seen it work is that you would work with your manager and other coworkers to pick a schedule, and then stick to it. So if I chose to work 10-6, I’d still be letting someone know if I was going to be late for 10, but I wouldn’t have to let everyone know every day that I wouldn’t be in for 8:30.

            5. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

              I’m in the UK and work for a company which has core hours of 10 – 12 and 2 – 4. We have staff (like me!) who start work at 7am and finish at 3pm. We have folk who work 10 – 7 with two hours for lunch. We have people who do 9 -5. It works really well because as an international business we get more coverage and no-0ne has to be press ganged into working early or working late.

            6. BigGlasses*

              When I was working in the UK, my normative office experience (for roles that don’t require coverage) is something like ‘core hours’ (say 10-4) when you’re expected to be in the office, and flexibility to push your start/end times a little as long as you meet your weekly hours.

        3. BeenThere*

          I can give you an example. In the Bay Area USA ( South of San Francisco where all the tech companies are) the traffic is truly awful around school drop off times and pick up times. So there is an unmovable fixed schedule and terrible geography with no mass transit at any useful volume, not even school buses. It’s predictable and never changes so those of us that don’t have to do school drop off shift our start times to either before or after the parent rush. Scheduling anyone for 9:30am is considered poor form as there is a good chance they are stuck in traffic on their way to work after drop off. This is also the reason that developers, who have a high number of night owls aren’t expected at any meeting before 10am in California.

          1. Filosofickle*

            I live in the area. I work in a creative field and often for tech folks — yeah, 10 or later is preferred and before 9 is almost unheard of (in these fields) around here.

            Rush hour here lasts a solid 4 hours each way, so it’s hard to beat it. When I commuted from Oakland to San Jose, I shifted late and worked 11-7ish, which reduced my commute time by 2/3rds. Luckily it was a tech company so that’s not even a little weird. But sometimes they did schedule 8 or 9a meetings and that meant lots of call-ins from the car and late arrivals. It wasn’t worth it.

            1. Anax*

              East Bay here, non-tech company (though I personally am IT), and most folks in my office work 7-4 (or even earlier) to avoid the worst traffic. That often still means leaving home at 5-5:30 – so meetings after 2pm are almost non-existent.

              I couldn’t believe the traffic here when I moved – even off hours and weekends here are worse than rush hour back in Wisconsin.

              1. Filosofickle*

                Yes, while I started at 11, half of the company started at 6 or 7a! I do appreciate when employers allow people to shift dramatically in either direction and just trust that it’s ok. We don’t really have a choice here.

                Rereading what I wrote above, I didn’t mean to imply that no one in these fields starts before 9/10a. I meant meetings often don’t start til then. The early birds use that time to crank stuff out in quiet before the blasted meetings start.

          2. Kyrielle*

            Tech in the Portland area. It varies from company to company and team to team. I am viewed as one of the odd ones (not in a bad way, just odd) on my current team because I’m in by 6:30 am and out mid-afternoon. (Metaphorically now that we are all working from home.) I have school-age kids and my partner handles the morning while I handle the afternoon.

            But it’s actually handy, because we work with multiple time zones. I and the other early bird have more overlap with some of them, which is helpful. (And a couple of our most night-owlish coworkers have more overlap with others, which us early birds haven’t got any overlap with!)

            But we’re all there except for lunch between about 10-3, AND there is not a “coverage” component to the job, AND there is a lot of independent work with intersection/interaction usually being a “needed daily or weekly, but not hourly” thing.

        4. Green great dragon*

          There’s plenty of UK companies that do flex. Depends on the industry I’m sure but not convinced ‘most’ people start at 9.00 these days (I worked 10 till 6 for years for I am not a morning person).

          And yes, if some people shift hours later, some earlier and some don’t change it will make travel easier for everyone, whether traffic or the tube.

          1. SmithSmithSmith*

            In my experience you end up with core hours from say 10 til 4, and then you can work 9-5.30 or 07.30 to 4 or whatever

        5. KBBCW*

          I have never worked like this when salaried in the UK. Almost everywhere I have worked had core hours, usually 10-4 and it was up to employees and their managers to work out working patterns of staff so people were manning the office 9-5 or even 8-6.
          I usually took 10-6 because I’m not a early bird, we had a colleague who liked to do 7.00-4.30 (she was on compressed hours, working 36 hours in 4 days instead of 5) and everyone else just floated in the middle.
          Now I’m on work from home it’s more like 9.30-5 with only 30 minutes for lunch not an hour.

          Honestly it’s kind of shitty management to say “no everyone starts at 9” as it doesn’t work for people’s realities.

          1. Mongrel*

            “Honestly it’s kind of shitty management to say “no everyone starts at 9” as it doesn’t work for people’s realities.”
            Another UK office worker, we always had flex arrangements for start\finish time which I think was assisted by being a small town next to the M25 (down near Heathrow) and two schools within 500m.
            We’ve been WFH for the past couple of years now and people naturally shifted to whatever works best for them and their family that fit around our 10 – 4 as core hours.

        6. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I’m a Brit and let me tell you flexi-time is a thing in the UK. My Dad was on flexi-time back in the 70s so it’s not even shiny and new as a concept.

      2. Aggretsuko*

        In my experience, early birds simply do NOT comprehend what it is to be a night owl and none ever have sympathy. Which they don’t have to have since the world revolves around their bodies and their bodies’ needs.

        Some day I want an official Night Owl Day, in which early birds are forced to be up and awake, full of energy, hungry for a breakfast, smiling, and able to solve hard problems….starting at 11 p.m.

        Seriously, I haven’t changed my work time, but my “commute” no longer existing means that I am getting around 45 minutes more sleep or at least bodily rest before having to be “on” and I’ no longer sleepy in 8 a.m. meetings any more and it’s glorious to not feel so bad every day. Just ANYTHING helps.

        1. Pink Dahlia*

          Same. During quarantine I was sleeping until 6:30, and it was like I had a personality transplant. Now I’m back to getting up at 4:30, and I hate everyone again.

          1. Alex*

            6:30 is what I consider the middle of the night – wake me up before 8:30am and I will try to throw stuff at you.. but, it is not unheard of for me to be still working at 8-9pm as well.

            Really, the spectrum between early bird and night owl is about as big as there are hours in the day. I’ve seen “night owls” that can’t function before about 11am, and some early birds that can get up at close to 4am and be fit (but those go to bed around 8pm, which I consider my “eob” time…

            Now combine this with a partner with changing and unpredictable 24/7 shift work and you have hit gold.

        2. Tisiphone*

          I’m a night owl who got up at 5am every workday for over a decade and got used to it – sort of. Once my schedule changed to second shift, I get up naturally around 8am or so. My commute time dropped dramatically and I’m much more rested. I’m not so sure I want to go back to days, assuming it would be a possibility.

        3. Risha*

          Heck, no commute means I’m reliably starting work a half hour earlier and I’m still getting more sleep like you are.

        4. Vichyssuave*

          I do shift work and finally got myself to a schedule of 1100-1900 after years of overnights. All of the day shift people (0700-1500) keep asking me when I might bid for their shift and I try to figure out how to politely tell them I think they’re nuts for wanting to get up that early when you could choose my shift. To be fair, I don’t have kids, and I can see a massive appeal of getting out of work at 3pm if I did. Sleep wise though, I’v never been happier. It’s basically a dream shift for me.

        5. Mongrel*

          “In my experience, early birds simply do NOT comprehend what it is to be a night owl and none ever have sympathy. Which they don’t have to have since the world revolves around their bodies and their bodies’ needs. ”

          It seems to be similar to the Introvert\Extrovert ‘conflict’.

        6. allathian*

          I’m a confirmed early bird, and now that I’m WFH for the foreseeable future, I start work somewhere between 6.30 and 7.30 and usually log off around 3.30 to 5.30. But I take plenty of breaks. We log our hours in 15-minute increments and have a very flexible schedule.

          My system works for me and I suspect that if my life had turned out different and I didn’t have a family, I’d probably be an even more extreme morning person. It does come with a price, though, I tend to save routine stuff for the afternoons and unless I’m working to a tight deadline, I don’t get much productive stuff done past 3. That’s why I stop working then when I can. I routinely go to bed at 9, and if I have a social engagement that needs me awake after 11, I need plenty of coffee, and some alcohol unless I’m the designated driver (sometimes I volunteer to drive because then I get to decide when we leave). I can’t remember when I last saw the midnight hour roll around, probably on New Year’s Eve.

          I wasn’t always like this, though. When I worked for a market research company in my late 20s my shift was 4-9+ pm. If I got an interview at 8.59, I would continue working until the call was completed. After that, it took at least an hour to get home because I was dependent on public transport and at that time, the trains ran every 30 minutes. After work, I was often so jazzed up that I couldn’t go to bed right away, so I’d take a shower at 11 pm, probably to the annoyance of my neighbors, but fortunately nobody ever complained, and watch a late night movie or something. I often didn’t get to bed until 2 am, and then I’d sleep until 10 or so. After that I’d work on a freelance project for a few hours, run some errands, and then I’d go to work again.

          I don’t think I’m a better human being than my night owl coworker who rarely starts work before 9, often takes three-hour breaks in the middle of the day and works past 10 on occasion, judging by the timestamps on his emails. I’m just glad that we’re working for an employer that is willing to accommodate both our preferences!

    4. Not a Blossom*

      This is what I was thinking. We had employees in our small group shift their hours (including me), which was fine, but one shifted hers so late that there was almost no overlap with others. We instituted core hours so that we can still get answers in a reasonable time frame but people still have flexibility.

    5. SuperDiva*

      This. It’s rude to schedule a meeting 30 minutes in advance, even during core core hours, but particularly first thing in the morning. One person on my team has a significant time difference such that our late afternoon is their early morning, and we don’t schedule any morning meetings for them without advance notice. Nobody wants to wake up at 8am and see a surprise 8:30 meeting on their calendar!

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        I tend to get hyper-focused on what I’m working on, and make sure to check email between tasks, but there is a good chance I would totally miss a meeting with only 30 minutes warning just because I was focused on something else. Back when I was actually in the office I might notice people getting up and leaving for a meeting, but these days…

        1. Jackalope*

          Yeah, same thing here. If we had a truly urgent meeting our supervisors would come around to everyone’s desk and grab us. Beyond that rare (maybe once a year?) occurrence, missing a meeting because it was scheduled a half an hour before the start time is easy to do even if you’re already at work doing stuff.

      2. Aggretsuko*

        In the age of Zoom, I have surprise meetings sprung on me with literally no notice all the time these days, though, including 8 a.m. ones. But if your calendar’s blocked off until 8:30, shouldn’t they notice?

      3. Alex*

        My employer brought in a new team in California – 9 hour difference to us.
        They tried scheduling us for meetings that are around their noon – 9pm, 10pm our time (Central Europe).
        They even tried inviting people from Asia (where that was 1-2am) for some time until someone finally said enough is enough.

        Now, the only way we’re having a meeting is a very finely defined corridor of about 1-2 hours each day for Europe from 6-8am for them and 5-7pm for us… or, which we suggested much to their complaining, midnight their time – meaning 9am for us.

        Basically, if you have teams spread out like this, you will NEVER find a time that works for everyone – and in this case, we won due to being in-house, and them being externals.

    6. Alex Beamish*

      Yup .. core hours is the answer. We use Google Calendar, so folks can see that I don’t start my day till 0930, but I also work till 1730. Someone else starts at 0800? Good for them. A meeting at 0830 still won’t work for me. :)
      And we use Slack, so I just set myself to away when my work day is over. Unless I’m on call, that’s the end until the next business day.

      1. Alex*

        I have – with the blessing of my boss – blocked off every hour in my calendar, on every day of the week, that falls out of my usual 9-6 work day. As in, there is a standing entry on every hour outside of that scope, also on the weekends (full time), where I’m marked as “out of office, not available”, so when someone tries to schedule me then, they get a conflict. I have been told my calendar is “irritating” by a colleague from overseas that tried booking me, but that’s them rules – and it has cut down on my after hours meetings tremendously, including the fact that I flat out deny any meetings after 6pm now with my bosses’ blessing. If it is urgent enough for me to take part anyway, they have to go to my boss and he has to (nicely) ask me to make an exception..

        1. TechWorker*

          I tend to accept meeting up til 7 because of working across timezones but I did have a really bizarre experience with a manager on a different team who was trying to schedule a (non-urgent) meeting. There was only four of us needed – to be fair she does have a very busy calendar herself but she seemed determined to have the meeting at 9pm my time and was acting like this was totally normal and why couldn’t I do it?

          1. TechWorker*

            (9pm my time == 1pm her time – theres luckily at least a few hours of sensible timezone overlap!)

            1. SarahKay*

              I’m in the UK, and (being a night owl) will usually happily accept meetings from the US up to about 7pm my time. The one time I pushed back was when they put it in for 7pm Friday, and when I pointed out that it was Friday evening for me they were very apologetic and re-scheduled.
              For meetings within my site we have core hours of 9.30-12 and 1-3.30 where people are expected to be available unless they’ve cleared it with their manager. Outside of those times, it’s up to us to set our own schedules so long as the work is done and we’re not stiffing the company on our hours overall.
              Most of the others in my office are early birds, some of them very much so, but none of them make a big deal about the fact that I’m a night owl, any more than I do about them being early birds. They and I know that emails sent at 7.30 am to me will get picked up when I get in at nine-ish, and that emails sent by me at 6.30pm aren’t expecting an answer until the following morning.

    7. ThatGirl*

      I don’t think this is mentioned below, but apologies if I’m repeating someone else — I would block out mornings on my calendar as unavailable. I work an earlier day – 7-3:30 – and unless it was something truly urgent and vital I do not accept meetings that run past 3:30. Easiest way to do that is just have 3:30 to 5 blocked off every day on my calendar. OP should easily do this for earlier – 7 to 9 for instance.

    8. memyselfandi*

      Exactly. We have core hours from 9AM to 3PM. On either side of that are flex hours that allow us to choose start time and stop time and lunch break length. As long as you end up with a full day of work.

    9. mourning mammoths*

      Exactly this.

      Our core hours are 10 to 4, with the policy that you can flex as needed/desired around these ours and still regularly work a full 40 hour week. Internal meetings are therefore only scheduled within those hours. And with plenty of advanced notice.

      There are sometimes requests for external meetings outside of those hours. I rarely agree to this. Firstly, if I happen to be at my computer before 10, it is my quiet time to get things done and get up to speed (it appears to be the same for my colleagues as well, on most days). Secondly, my brain simply isn’t firing on enough cylinders for detailed discussions and negotiations before 10. Thirdly, I have a number of team members who stick to their 4PM end time, and it’s not assumed that it’s all up to me to compensate for any lack of time in the day by being flexible on the 10AM start time. When absolutely urgent (rare, we’re not saving lives here …) we find a compromise. And this is in any case fully supported by our policies.

  4. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    It’s really obnoxious that your co-workers are being so snooty about this. Can they honestly say that their schedules haven’t been affected at all by the pandemic?? In my experience the people who are ‘early birds’ and whose work hours are 7:30-4:30? Yeah, most of the time they actually show up at 7:45 and start actually working around 8:15-8:30, but they still like to give those of us who come in at 8:30 or 9 that self-righteous early bird crap. I vote for option 3 in which you just tell your co-workers to mind their own beeswax.

    1. Kumajiro*

      I work from 7-4 with a lunch at 11. I like it because it gives me some time to fix up things I thought about last night before people start rolling in, and in the afternoon I have enough time for doctors appointments or running to the bank. I still don’t like big meetings before 9 am though because no one ever seems actually prepared for them. And of course I never make any disparaging comments to my later coworkers; I just don’t see a point to it. Not all of us are terrible, some just have slightly earlier internal clocks.

      1. Elise*

        Yeah, I had a short time of earlier hours (due to a childcare issue after I came back from mat leave). The best thing about getting to work early was having at least an hour before any meetings or interruptions. I’m surprised that they would want to start having meetings so soon after getting to work by choice.

        I tend to fall into the later camp when I have the choice, but I don’t have jerks upset about it since I’m obviously hear later.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Haha, this is consistent with my experience. Early in my current job, when we all commuted to work, I liked to start later, at 8:30 or 9, and was surrounded by early birds that were always talking about how great it felt for them to start their workday at 7-7:30. Made me feel a bit guilty for not being available to them for the first 1.5-2 hours of their day. Then one day I had to unexpectedly work an all-nighter, so was at my desk when people started arriving in the morning. I hadn’t known it in advance that I’d stay the night – I was just staying late, working on something that was due immediately, and all of a sudden it was morning. One guy came in at 6:30, and he was not from my team, and had never bragged about arriving early. No one else came in for the next 1.5 hours or so. All of my early birds rolled into work at 8:15-8:20. Who would’ve thunk? Granted, if OP’s coworkers send her questions and meeting invites at 7:30, this tells me they are already working and engaged with work at that time. But my experience with my teammates was eye-opening to me. Not a word was exchanged between us about anyone’s actual arrival times, I just stopped feeling bad about my own.

      1. Firecat*

        Ha. This goes along with the research I have saw that most people working long hours are faking it.

        My general experience is that the “office martyr” types who like to comain that they are “just sooo busy” and had to work until midnight yada yada typically aren’t working that much.

        1. Red 5*

          Or they’re doing those hours because their time management is so bad that they’re taking twice as long to do anything.

          I really hate listening to the people that are constantly just sooooo busy. Okay, is that my problem or yours?

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        I had something similar happen! I usually got in around 9. A particular co-worker claimed to always get in around 7 & leave around 3-3:30. Once in a while I would come in early because I took the bus or had to drop my car off for service. I’d be in before 7:30 & she’d stroll in around 8 or so. She was always surprised to see me. (The rest of the team generally came in around 8:30.) I never said anything, but it confirmed what I already knew/suspected about her trustworthiness.

    3. Lady Meyneth*

      Funny, my experience is exaclty flipped. When we weren’t WFH, the only people in my office before 9AM were me and, oddly enough, my grandboss, and I got a ton of snark about trying to outshine them or to get an in to the big boss. It was mostly jokey, except for one nasty coworker, but it still got old really fast.

    4. Firecat*

      I have also experienced the opposite though. We’re someone with a schedule set earlier is pressured to “stay for the full day”. I think in general herd mentality sets in and the “other” is bullied into conforming.

    5. DarthVelma*

      So no…I work 7-4 and pre-COVID my butt was in my office at 5 minutes to 7. Every day. Now, many of my co-workers with later start times, I never was able to figure out their actual hours ’cause they’d wander in whenever. I didn’t much care as long as they were getting their work done.

      So how about we call it even and acknowledge that the plural of anecdote is not data.

    6. miro*

      Reading your comment, it occurred to me that maybe part of the coworkers’ attachment to the early schedule is in part *because* of the pandemic–for example, maybe it is a comforting bit of structure/routine they want to hold on to.

      This is not to say that their reactions are justified, but I wonder if OP might have some luck if they talked to the coworkers about why those hours are important to them. It might be that they’re just sticking to them out of habit and upon considering it realize it doesn’t really matter to them. Or they might maintain that it does, but that could open up an opportunity to talk about how to balance OP’s needs alongside theirs. (obvs this is going to depend on office culture, size, and general employee relationships, which I didn’t really get a sense of from the letter)

      OP had previously shown that they were perfectly capable of starting work early, so I don’t buy the idea that this office doesn’t start actually working until later (as evidenced by the early meetings).

  5. NQ*

    Meeting scheduled 30 min in advance? Unless there’s an actual emergency that’s a waste of everybody’s probably-already-planned time they were intending on other work anyway. In my old job I got in later than I do now (typically 0900 or later, which was 100% allowed), and if anyone ever scheduled a meeting before 0900 I’d practically be breathing fire on my way in. Even if they provided brekky.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      Yes, this is ridiculous. My work requires a regular amount of focus, nothing major, and even that takes me away from email for 45 minutes or an hour at a time. I would miss a good portion of these meetings even if they were scheduled when I was at work if they were announced with only 30 minutes notice! This is a terrible practice. At my office and every one I’ve worked at before, it’s considered unprofessional to schedule a meeting without at least 24 hours notice unless there’s an emergency (a real, business-effecting emergency). And none of us are high level executives with crazy schedules. It’s likely different in highly creative and collaborative environments, but in most places, such little notice would be unacceptable.

      Besides all the other great advice they’ve been given by Alison and in this thread, OP needs to push back on this practice completely and request that meetings be scheduled with more notice, especially if they’re early in the morning. An 8:30am meeting should be scheduled not at 8am, but the day before.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        It’s likely different in highly creative and collaborative environments, but in most places, such little notice would be unacceptable.

        I work in a highly creative and collaborative environment, and we very rarely schedule meetings same day. And when we do, we give each other hours notice – 30 minutes simply would not be possible.

    2. PollyQ*

      Exactly this. Unless there’s some extremely pressing emergency that’s just come up, it’s ridiculous to schedule meetings with only 1/2 hour of notice. Frankly, I suspect coworkers of doing this on purpose so that they can complain that OP “missed” the meeting.

      I don’t know that OP needs to have an everyday auto-reply to cover the fact that her workday starts at 9. An FYI to the department along with blocking out the hours on the calendar ought to cover it.

    3. Rez123*

      My manager likes to do this or just call the whole team via Skype with an hour long afternoon coffee that is in fact a team meeting. Yay.

    4. nm*

      Yeah, even if I am in the office at the time, it’s not the norm to be on our email constantly. If a meeting is only scheduled 30 minutes in advance then I probably will miss it.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      If that doesn’t work, try 8:30 pm and/or 11:30 pm with a half-hour lead time.

  6. FatJoe*

    The only thing I would notice that is missing here… is OP expecting their coworkers to work later hours just because they are? Is OP scheduling late day meetings that are impacting others? While it may work better for OP, also be aware that everyone else should not have to change their work hours and practices because OP has a sudden change of heart.

    1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      “Is OP scheduling late day meetings that are impacting others?”

      Why do you ask this? There’s nothing suggesting it.

    2. Massmatt*

      It’s “missing” as in, not in the letter. Let’s stick with what we know, which is what the LW tells us. If her coworkers are annoyed because LW is expecting them to work later, they can write in for advice.

    3. anon73*

      You’re making an assumption that is not at all indicated in the letter. Her co-workers are behaving like toddlers because – god forbid – they have to wait an hour and a half in the morning for OP to be available. They need to get over it and stop with the comments. Unless there’s a true emergency, or OP’s later hours is causing them to not be able to get their work done (which isn’t the case AS STATED IN THE LETTER), then they need to stop with the passive aggressive comments.

      I work with people on the opposite coast and won’t get a response from most of them until close to noon. Sometimes I get emails from them after dinner time. Unless it’s urgent, you figure out a way to make it work. like an ADULT.

      1. KaciHall*

        I used to have a client in Hawaii when I was on the east coast, and I was scheduled till 7-330 every day. I had a half an hour window to contact them in.

        I managed. An hour and a half difference in schedule is NOTHING.

        1. Kimmybear*

          I have an 11pm meeting tonight because that’s the time it has to be to chat with my colleagues in Pakistan.

      2. Tisiphone*

        My first thought when I read about the co-workers scheduling meetings at 8am for 8:30am is that they’re like people I used to work with several previous jobs ago. They hated it if they thought you were getting away with something. In this case the something to be gotten away with is readjusting work hours with the boss’ OK.

        My advice to the OP is to address with the co-workers first, since they seem to be the biggest problem. There’s no reason why no-notice surprise first thing in the morning meetings need to happen unless the server room is on fire.

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      It doesn’t sound like OP is scheduling meetings etc like this, as she seems quite aware of the difference in schedules etc and didn’t mention that being a problem.

      The primary problem seems to be people grumbling about OPs “unavailability” at the start of the day.

      Having said that, I don’t think ‘cos I’ve become lazier while we’ve been WFH’ is a great look or a great explanation for the change in availability.

      1. Jackalope*

        It’s part of the story in our culture though about how people who get up later are lazy and lollygagging around while early birds are more virtuous and hardworking just because of the fact that they get up earlier. I’m guessing that’s why the OP used that language.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          Mmm, I’m not sure about that. OP said “When I started working from home, I kept the same hours, but without the commute I’ve been getting lazier” which I took as a statement of fact from OP’s perspective! “Getting lazier” ~~ “can’t be bothered to start so early any more when I don’t need to” type of thing.

          I can see what she means — it’s easy to get on the slippery slope of “I don’t need to get up so early” — “just a few more minutes in bed every day” — “we have fluid start times and it’s so nice to get up later so I’ll just start soon enough…” etc, meanwhile the co-workers are maintaining the same schedule they had when working in the office.

          1. Esmeralda*

            Sure, but that’s on them. The key here is, OP’s boss is ok with it as long as OP doesn’t miss meetings.

            Are the spur of the moment meetings necessary, or could OP’s coworkers schedule meetings ahead of time. Were these meetings typical before WFH? If yes, then OP needs to check at 8 am for an 8:30 meeting. If no, OP can push back, using Alison’s suggestions.

            I’m an early bird (in the Before Times, I was at work before 7:30 am — took my kid to school, stopped for coffee, and still got to park right in front of the building YES!) and *I* would be royally pissed off to be told at 8 am that I had a required meeting at 8:30. Once in awhile, for a good reason, ok. Happening frequently and for no good reason? Nope.

          2. Rob aka Mediancat*

            It sounds like this is a perk available to everyone if they want it, and the poster is just the only one in their group who wants it. It’s not on them for using it, it’s on the other folks for being annoyed at her for doing so.

    5. Sakuko*

      Sounds like OP starts 2 hours later than most coworkers. That’s still a 6 hour band that can be used for meetings, which would be plenty for most jobs.

      I actually work in an office with no core hours. A few coworkers (me included) start at about 5 am while others don’t get there until 10 or even 11 am. That’s just a 3 hour window for meetings, and with a lunch break in the middle of it that’s pretty religiously taken by a bunch of people in the office.
      If we have to schedule meetings with people across departments, it can be a chore to find a free spot where everyone is available, with the managers having mostly full calendars most days and peoples individual start and end times. Most people are trying to be flexible for important, pre-scheduled meetings though and will stay longer or arrive before their usual time occasionally..

  7. Caramel & Cheddar*

    If your system allows, I’d also set up working hours in your email/IM so that people know you’re only available between X and Y hours. Failing that, I’d honestly just block out pre-9am slots in your calendar every day so that if they’re booking meetings during that time, they’ll see you’re busy. If it’s super urgent that you attend an 8am meeting, they can talk to you directly about it, otherwise it should be fine that you show up unavailable the same way it would if you were asking them to meet at 4pm after they’re done for the day.

    1. Quinalla*

      Yup, definitely show this in your calendar if it is an option. Even if you just have to block out non-working time as busy. That way when they try to schedule an 8:30am meeting, they should see that you are unavailable. My regional office tends to be the early birds (I usually got in between 6:30-7:00am when we were in the office and I hadn’t been first in for months) and with our core hours as 9am-3pm, we had the one guy in my office typically working 6-3. Our main office has a lot of late risers, so a lot of those folks worked 9-6 and they weren’t always super punctual at 9am :) Sure, there were times when I’d try to get in touch with someone at 8:30am and be momentarily annoyed, but it isn’t that big a deal and your team sounds like they are being pretty over the top about it, especially now. At the moment I’m working a shifted schedule, about 5:30am-8:30am and then 2:30pm-9:30pm or so with a break for dinner and kid bedtime. I do monitor emails/Teams as much as I can during the day and can usually pop on for 30 minutes or so during lunch time, but yeah no one is getting annoyed at me cause ya know, pandemic… I did make sure my team was all aware of my schedule and have it in my calendar to help remind, I think you may just need to overcommunicate about it a bit until they get used to it.

    2. Smithy*

      I think that blocking our your calendar in the morning combined with the bounce back around when you start will be helpful in removing ambiguity.

      As someone who does tend to start earlier in the day, it’s much easier to have this information laid out as a hard reminder. To the OP, 8:30/9/9:30 likely have far different meanings than someone starting their day at 7:30 – and by having calendar blocks and the bounceback, that clarity and official messaging is emphasized.

    3. Hush42*

      If you’re using Outlook as your calendar you can set “meetings” on your calendar and set them to out of office status so that your calendar actually shows you OOO when they try to schedule meetings with you.

      However, that only works if the person scheduling the meetings bothers to actually check the availability of the people they’re inviting to the meeting. In my experience the people who think its appropriate to schedule a meeting with only 30 minutes notice are also the people who don’t bother to check others calendars.

    4. 'Tis Me*

      In Outlook, if you work the same hours each day, you can just set that window as your working hours.

      If you work the same hours in the same pattern each week, but this means that every Monday you will have different start and end times to those you will have on Tuesday, and so forth, you need to set your working hours as your earliest start time til your latest end time, and then set up recurring events to actually get your calendar to display your correct working hours to others.

  8. Annie Porter*

    As the office early bird and east coaster, I am utterly shocked when I get a response from anyone before 9 or 10 Eastern. Unless the meetings are an issue (I don’t know ANYONE who likes early morning meetings anyway, including pre-Covid) I can’t see how this is a “you” problem. It’s them.

    1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      I live on the East Coast and collaborate with many people in Europe and Africa, and some in East Asia. 8am work is a thing. We sometimes do 7am to touch the end of the day in parts of Asia.

    2. Massmatt*

      Lots of people like to work (and meet) early vs: staying later. At my prior job we had an upper manager who was ex-military (every ex-military I’ve known has been an early-riser type) and liked to schedule mandatory staff meetings at 7:30 AM.
      It sucked for people working later shifts: This was a call center open from 8am to 10 and sometimes 11PM depending on daylight savings time. At least they were able to teleconference in but it was a hassle.

      1. Allison*

        Honestly, I’m not even an early bird per se, but I hate traffic, I hate commuting on packed trains, and I hate driving around the parking lot looking for a spot – all of those things tend to make me anxious – and leaving for work on the early side means avoiding that stuff. Just ten minutes can mean the difference between: an easy commute and lots of traffic; getting a parking spot near the building and looking for one in an overflow lot; getting a seat on the train versus standing; and getting off easily versus having to fight through a packed train to get off at my stop.

        Not to mention, my first job required us all to be in our seats, ready to work, at exactly 8:30. 8:30 was the time we started, and the time we started as 8:30. 8:35 was right out! If you were even a few minutes late you got a finger wag at best, and the strong possibility of real disciplinary action (and that would make sense if it were a job that required constant coverage, but it wasn’t, I always felt this company was unnecessarily strict about start and end times), so now if the handbook has an official start time for the day, I make every effort to be there at or before that time, even if most of my coworkers trickle in 15-30 minutes later, but I’d never snark at them for being “late”!

    3. Another worker bee*

      As a mountain time person on a distributed team, I appreciate you. I get so many 6:30 AM meetings because “the only time the east coast person could fit it in was 8:30 AM” and I’m just like bull, there are 5-6 hours a day that are convenient to all continental US time zones, people who aren’t pulling some weird power play will pick from that time range.

  9. Malarkey01*

    With the snarky replies, I’d also be very comfortable saying something like “guys that’s not cool to say that”. Sometimes calling people on their incredible rudeness is a good reminder of how badly they were speaking to or about a coworker.

    As someone who works later I also often send things out at the end of my workday (after most have gone home) because a) it doesn’t hold up the early birds and b) helps normalize that people work different hours and no one is available 100% on others schedules.

  10. Massmatt*

    There is no moral or productivity difference between those that prefer mornings vs: afternoons, yet people that prefer mornings often act smug and superior about it. Sending an invite to an 8:30 meeting at 8AM is obnoxious.

    If I were in this situation I would be very tempted to schedule them for 5:30 meetings at 5PM, and send testy emails at 4:45 asking for quick responses with lots of “where ARE YOU?” snark.

    But alas, that is likely to end badly. The morning fascists are in control at your workplace, and if they (and your boss) don’t respond to Alison’s suggestions you will probably need to adapt to their culture.

    1. anon73*

      When I’ve had long commutes, I’ve always worked out a different schedule so that I can avoid the most traffic (which for me was starting early). I am not even close to being a morning person, and while I would have rather stayed in bed a few more hours, I liked that I got into the office before everyone else so I could drink my coffee in peace and have time to wake up enough to not be a raging bitch to my colleagues. But at my last job my manager HAD to be the first one in the office so she didn’t miss anything. She learned quickly to not try and speak to me when I walked in.

      1. Tabby*

        I do this, especially if I have to be in early. And NOBODY finds it odd — but then, nobody at my dog daycare thinks anyone should be chipper to go into a room with 40 hyper dogs at 8 am and feel cheerful about it, even when you love the furry jerks. they let you have your coffee in peace, because it will soon be shattered! :D

  11. Evelyn*

    At my organization, when we schedule meetings, we look at each other’s calendars to see when people are free. If this is the norm at your workplace, you might also want to make sure that your calendar is blocked off outside your normal work hours.

    And yeah, start sending emails at 4:00 PM that aren’t urgent. Remind people that email is an asynchronous form of communication that doesn’t always yield instant replies and that you’re still working after they’ve signed off for the day.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I like the idea to make sure the calendar is blocked, if not already done. Another idea is to have a team schedule posted somewhere accessible if people want a quick reference. We have a wiki at my office w/a page where everyone has their office hours listed and it’s a nice way to run down the whole team’s schedules (with time zones included)

  12. Rising Early but not for Work*

    I have been battling this for years! My former boss would start at 7:30 and comment that anyone who came in at 8:30 was lazy. No, I am not lazy. In fact, I have been up since 4:30 swimming, running or biking before work so I am healthier and in a better head space to start the day. It also means I am available to employees and clients until 5 PM when typical business hours end. In my field, flexible schedules mean better availability for clients so the snarkiness and judgment from the people wh0 start early isn’t needed.

    1. Duke Flapjack*

      My boss is often not in until about 8:30 for exactly those reasons: he always swims laps before coming in to work.

  13. Duke Flapjack*

    What’s funny is I am somewhat in the same boat starting at 7:00 am. I work sometimes in construction and these guys are usually on the job at 6:00, which is about 20 minutes before I get out of bed.

    1. Dave*

      I am in the same boat. I have had conversations with the worst offenders but because I am not their supervisor and therefore 99% of the time it can wait. I actually have my phone calls silenced until just after my alarm. (If you call multiple times it overrides it but the men know it better be important.) On the flip side I have learned to schedule emails so they get delivered to them first thing in the morning and not the end of my work day because they were feeling compelled to respond to me.

  14. Blue*

    I like Alison’s suggestion of the email autoresponder only if you use an email client such as Gmail that allows you to send the auto reply only to people in your organization. I’d find that very odd if I was emailing you as a client, vendor, etc. The suggestion from other commenters of blocking time on your calendar as unavailable before 9 might be more elegant.

    1. Mongrel*

      You can also set your work time in Outlook.
      File > Options > Calendar and it has options for start & end times.
      In theory this should show you as unavailable when they’re setting it up

  15. Bostonian*

    30 minutes notice for a meeting?! Hopefully that was a one-off and not a regular thing. The only people I would be OK with doing that is my boss (which she never does) or the head of the department, since she’s so busy and probably actually has something urgent to convey. But even then, I would have an internal “really?” gut reaction because that’s really not cool for all the reasons Alison mentioned.

  16. MAC*

    Alison’s comment about the “virtue” behind early rising reminds me of my grandma. She was a “bed at 8pm, get up at 4am” type. She would give me grief about “wasting the day” sleeping. Until the time I, very good-humoredly and respectfully, told her I’d cleaned out my closet at 11pm the night before and asked if she’d been doing anything productive at that time, or had she “wasted it” sleeping. She finally admitted that 8 hours of sleep, whether 8-4 or midnight-8, was no different and laid off me (a little).

    1. Massmatt*

      It’s odd that this attitude of superiority is entirely one-sided. I have never heard someone who preferred to be a night owl give grief or otherwise act superior to an early-riser.

      Even those of us that prefer later hours seem to have internalized this attitude that early-risers are productive, can-do people that go to church, salute the flag, eat their vegetables, and work diligently, whereas late risers are lazy schlubs that probably drink and gamble all night before reporting to work to doze and goof off while the terrorists win.

      1. Agnes*

        Oh, I have. As a morning person who suffered a lot in my younger years because I couldn’t stay awake for sleepovers or nightclubbing, complaints about working early being seen as better strike me like complaining that no one respects how hard it was to be head cheerleader. You had your time.

      2. Zombeyonce*

        It’s because “bad things [only] happen in the dark”, according to my parents when I was a teenager. The “only” wasn’t said but heavily implied. So people that get up at 4am are doing virtuous things like knitting baby mittens, spinning angelic gold from straw to craft halos, and giving all their worldly possessions to the poor, while people that stay up late are probably only doing bad things like performing demonic rituals in the woods, voting for high falutin’ elitist snobs, and stealing mittens from babies.

          1. RussianInTexas*

            Not where I used to live, during summer. Sunrise at 4:30am, sunset at 11pm.
            Of course in December sunrise will be 9am and sunset at 5pm.
            Also, those stupid birds. Start chirping at 4am. All summer long.
            This was 55 degrees latitude, so Denmark, northern England, Northern Ireland, southern Scotland…

        1. Librarian1*

          but it’s still pretty rare to wake up at 4am! I don’t know what these people think is happening that early.

      3. Black Horse Dancing*

        Eh, I’ve met them. ‘I was up at 2 am while you were sleeping’ isn’t uncommon. One thing night owls do get more usually is quiet time. It’s not like most people can get their doctors’ appointments at 1 AM. Therefore, night owls will usually be less pestered by phones, emails, etc. unless they are global/international.

      4. Aggretsuko*

        Right. I don’t think it would do any good to do that anyway! Night owls are probably used to having to work around everyone else, and early birds aren’t.

      5. Charlotte Lucas*

        So, my dad worked the graveyard shift when I was a kid. He would be asleep when we got up for school & got up around noon. My immediate family never had the mindset that one way of being was more virtuous than the other. They’re just different. I took after him & would stay up
        all night studying or writing papers in high school. My mom didn’t complain because my grades were good, and to take breaks I would do laundry or bake brownies. Usually both.

        1. Tisiphone*

          My family was the same way. Before my mom had an injury that forced her out of the workforce, she and dad were day shift/ night shift parents. He worked days and she worked nights. Nothing special about what shift you worked as long as you were diligent and hard-working when you were on the clock. We were not taught to embrace sleep deprivation. My teenage years of sleeping 12 hours on weekends were usually met with the comment “You must have needed it.”

      6. miro*

        I remember quite a bit of superiority from night owls when I was in college–the idea was that night owls were more productive, keeping up the (harmful to everyone, IMO) stereotype of students working away through the night. Going to bed early was “quitting,” and I remember many a judgey conversation with classmates at 8pm who couldn’t believe I was going to bed instead of the library. My friends gave me a “pass” because I’m disabled, which I have mixed feelings about.

        Granted, I’m not sure that attitude exists much outside of college, but in my experience it’s not as one-sided as it seems to have been for you

      7. Academia celebrates night owls*

        Agreeing with others that there is ABSOLUTELY an attitude of superiority from the night owls. In academia going to bed at 10 is unacceptable; you must work through the night, otherwise you are not taking your job seriously. I am a morning person and my brain doesn’t work after 6pm.
        Ironically the same smug night owls who think anyone who is not like them is not a good academic are also the ones hurling insults (see “morning fascists” in a comment above — who thinks that is ok language to use?! No name calling on this website?!).

        1. DarnTheMan*

          Massmatt was the same one to make the morning fascists comment so they seem to have a bit of an issue with anyone who *gasp* actually can get up early in the morning.

      8. DarnTheMan*

        Oh I have; I am not an early morning person so as soon as I started working, I learned to block my mornings out in careful increments, but that often resulted in me getting to the office anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour before the start of work hours. A lot of my co-workers (at a few different jobs) who liked a later start found great hilarity in ribbing me about what time I arrived at the office and speculating how early I’d be the next day (combined with a lot of ‘must be nice’ when I left early once I got adjusted schedules) even though it stopped being funny after the second time.

    2. Alex*

      Well, she is right in the sense that you “wasted” hours where it was “day” – as in, you had natural daylight.

      This used to be very important up until around 150 years ago actually.. but the associated stigma has never gone away for some reason since we have had reliable lighting all day/night around.

  17. Q without U*

    If you haven’t already, make sure you change your workday start and end times. In Outlook, this is under Options > Calendar.

    1. mourning mammoths*

      I agree that this is the approach to take, rather than putting events in the calendar to block off the time.

      1. Hazel*

        I think doing both is a good idea. It’s very easy to ignore/not notice someone else’s work times in Outlook when you’re scheduling a meeting.

  18. Pinto*

    Since you are aware your work hours are different than most of your co-workers, I suggest putting a block on your calendar, noting 7-9 as non work hours. This goes along with the suggested auto message. Or take the passive aggressive method and start sending messages to coworkers at 4:15 everyday, asking for an ASAP response.

  19. Allison*

    I had the opposite problem in a past job, I got in earlier than most of my colleagues so I could leave at 4:30 and get ahead of rush hour traffic. My boss didn’t mind, and neither did anyone I worked with directly. Someone else on the team though, seemed a bit resentful, like I got to leave early while she had to stay in the office later because she had more work to do. We didn’t have the same job, so I swear I wasn’t leaving her to pick up my slack or anything, but I also think she felt overwhelmed in her role and wasn’t happy. I sometimes wonder if I should have talked to her to set the record straight, and address any concerns she may have had when she saw me leaving so early.

    I’m starting a new job on Monday, I’m on the east coast working with a lot of people on the west coast, and in the interview they said I wouldn’t be expected to work west coast hours per se, but I should overlap my hours with theirs as best as possible, so I plan to work 10-6 my time (and check emails until 9 or so, so I don’t miss anything urgent) and I know I’ll need to communicate those hours very clearly to those on the west coast. But even then, I might still have one cranky coworker going “ugh, must be nice” when I’ve logged off at 3 her time and she has to keep plugging away until 5 or 6.

    1. anon73*

      I’ve had issues with people like that as well, which is why everyone should mind their own business about their co-workers comings and goings unless it’s directly affecting their ability to do their work.

    2. lazuli*

      I don’t know — I’ve lived on the East Coast and am now on the West Coast, and I think West Coasters are a bit more used to dealing with continental time differences than East Coasters sometimes are, just because so much national stuff is East Coast based. Our workdays tend to start a bit earlier (8am is fairly normal here), and I’ve learned that I can’t, for example, order my monthly specialty medications after 3pm, since the company’s in Delaware. You may get less pushback than you’re anticipating.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I once after a change at my husband’s job negotiated a change in hours at my job – because of childcare concerns. Husband was promoted into a new position that now required lots of travel – that was frequently extremely very last minute (think being on a plane four hours after getting a phone call), so I needed a schedule change to make sure we had someone with the kids at all times. So my start time shifted by 30 mins, I went from an hour to 30 mins for lunch, and I ended the day an hour earlier. There was one grumbler – who had duties that didn’t over lap with me – she was just jealous I missed most of the traffic.

    4. Aggretsuko*

      I confess that I think that when my coworkers log out at 3, 3:30 or 4, but I sure as hell don’t want to be working at 6:30/7/3:30 a.m. to compensate for it either.

    5. SweetestCin*

      Used to run into this constantly, especially when home office was Central time zone while we were Eastern, and the department I worked in in the local office worked hours that matched those of our subcontractors. Our 6 a.m. to 3:30 pm EST/EDT was plenty full, but folks in the home office figured we were just slackers who left and never answered a phone after 2:30 CST/CDT. (Uh, no. We just started before 8 or 9 a.m. our time. And since we relied on subcontractor input in our department, there was NO reason to stay late because we couldn’t do much)

      We always made a habit of sending local department meeting minutes to the home office with an early hour timestamp :-)

    6. sofar*

      I work with a team on the west coast (I’m central time). So I frequently have meetings after 4 or 5 pm my time. But my early-bird coworkers sometimes get impatient when they have to wait two whole hours for me to see their 7:01 a.m. message. How would they like to take those late meetings? They wouldn’t. But I’m supposed to work 11-hour days to be present between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.?

      And what’s so crazy is that, it’s actually super efficient to have folks on different schedules. My more reasonable coworkers and I pass the baton (I’ll send them something for review when I leave at 6 p.m., they edit it at 7 a.m. when they get in, and it’s ready to go at 9 a.m. when I’m back).

    7. EvilQueenRegina*

      A few years back, I had a coworker Hermione who had a medical issue under investigation and she had been advised by her specialist not to drive in the dark if at all possible. She had about 20 miles to commute, and the eventual outcome was that during the winter months after the clocks went back, Hermione had to adjust her hours, which resulted in her taking a shorter lunch break and leaving earlier.

      The team were all aware of her situation and had no issues with it. Our manager, Umbridge, however, did. But because Hermione had been requested not to drive in the dark by a medical professional, Umbridge didn’t have a leg to stand on and had to accommodate it.

      At around the same time, another coworker, Ginny, was also adjusting her hours one day a week to accommodate a sporting activity outside work. Again the team had no issues with this; again, Umbridge did.

      One day, Umbridge took Hermione and Ginny aside to yell at them over their finishing early, citing that it was an issue for me and another coworker. But I had never complained, and I couldn’t think of anything that could have been wrongly taken that way. Umbridge never actually asked me. It was never an issue for me, and even if it had bothered me I was aware of the genuine medical reasons behind it so I would have sucked that one up anyway. (I will point out that by the time of this confrontation, it was getting close to when the clocks went forward in the UK meaning Hermione’s commute would no longer be in the dark anyway, but even then it didn’t warrant the scene Umbridge made). I was genuinely shocked when I found out what had actually happened – I had thought Umbridge was taking them aside to discuss the induction and training they were doing for a new employee!

      This incident was the final straw for Ginny who gave her notice shortly afterwards to return to her old job. Hermione did return to her regular hours after it got to daylight when she would have been leaving, but by the following year she had also transferred to another team with a more easygoing manager.

  20. Agnes*

    I’m the early bird at my job. The core hour thing has really helped our team. 10-3 works for all of us.

  21. 2020storm*

    “It should cut down on it, but we live in a society that has assigned a weird virtue to getting up early. Starting your eight hours of work at 7 am isn’t somehow more virtuous than starting at 9 am or 10 am, yet culturally it’s still sometimes treated that way. ”

    Wow, it wasn’t until I saw this typed that I realized how true it is. I am a night owl and I work so much better 10-6 than 9-5, but somehow my coworkers who have decided to shift their hours to 8-4 seem to be viewed as being more dedicated to the work.

    1. Deliliah*

      I can only guess it has to do with doing things during the daylight. Daylight = works and darkness = rest. My eyes are terribly light-sensitive, so I always prefer doing things in the dark.

    2. TPS reporter*

      I think this perception is changing especially now that we’re working at home more. Also a lot of us work across many time zones so who even knows or cares what time it is. Let your work product speak for your dedication and ignore the early bird haters!

  22. JSmith*

    Chronotypes are a real thing.
    Prejudice against later chronotypes and privileging of early birds is a real thing.
    Some people need to work part time, or full time but to different schedules.
    Depending where you live, if this has health impact that might mean it falls under disability policy.
    Far fewer things need to happen at a specific time of day than currently do, it’s often just habit.
    Some habits need to be broken.
    Out-of-office messages and an email sig stating your agreed hours can be very helpful.
    In some cases, so can judiciously passive-aggressively emailing colleagues after they have left for the day.

    Signed, night owl with time-sensitive chronic illness who usually starts work at noon. Which people still conveniently ‘forget’ after several years of it.

    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      Problem with this is many night owls train themselves to day hours and vice versa. So many people will be “I get you’re a night owl/early bird, I am too but I still do the day shift/night shift because of X and you can get used to it like I did.” They won’t get why they can do this training and you can’t.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I worked 7-4 for four months and it has literally screwed with my sleeping for the rest of my life. I was not waking up 2-3 hours before I had to get up to check the alarm to see if I had slept through it before then…and I’ve never recovered.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but one of those sunrise alarm clocks really helped me recover from this. The gradual light increase became a more reliable wake-up-time trigger, so that my body could trust that dark out = not time to be awake yet.

          1. Aldabra*

            Yes, those are the bomb. Pre-Covid I started at 7:30, which was early but doable. My boss is a hyper-early bird, she likes to start at 5:30, and we had some tension between us when Covid hit and she scheduled us at 6:00 start. She shaded me in front of the team for wanting to sleep instead of getting up and “getting things done,” it was not cool. Luckily, early on, my grandboss asked “how are you doing?” and I got to say 6 AM is not suiting me well, and my boss gave in to reality: our team is happy to self-sort in to early and late starters, and it’s beneficial to not force us to do the wrong start. I’ve been doing the second shift – 7 AM – for the last few months, waking up at 5:45 (I’m a night owl which means it takes me a long time to wake up – gotta get my tea, breakfast, do my skincare, etc., no jumping out of bed and being ready to roll!). My sunrise alarm really helped me SO MUCH both last winter and recently, since it’s been getting darker in the mornings. It doesn’t make getting up in the dark easy – just much less painful.

            I am going back to 7:30 starts next week, and I’m thrilled. Also we’ll be doing 5x eight hours instead of 4x 10 hours, which is great – I have discovered 10-hour days are deleterious to my work-life balance.

        2. LPUK*

          I don’t have a sunrise clock though I am mulling over the purchase, but I do have a SAD light which i use for my first hours of work during the morning – it really perks me up and gets me over the hump. I used to keep it at the office right by my monitor and really saw the benefit

      2. JSmith*

        So true.
        However, the built up stress of forcing oneself into an unnatural schedule may cause or contribute to long-term health problems over time. A known and accepted thing for shift-workers, but applicable to anyone forced out of their natural schedule.
        Also, if it was easy for them to change, their body clock may not have been set in the way they thought.

      3. Not A Girl Boss*

        There’s a difference between “preference” and “biological impetus” – we all have some wiggle room in our sleep time, which is a preference. Having to work outside of your circadian rhythm is truly awful. I spent 2 years working a rotating schedule where each month I changed the shift I was on. By the end, I had several serious health conditions I could directly attribute to it, including thyroid and cortisol problems that took over 5 years to resolve.

      4. Tisiphone*

        I’m one of those night owls who trained myself into a 5am wakeup. It was not ideal, and when I got a second shift job I got better sleep. It’s taken a couple years to train my body into a reasonably consistent wakeup around 8am in order to sync as much as possible with friends. Gone are the days of trying to fall asleep, failing, and stressing about how long it’s taking me to fall asleep and knowing 5am is getting closer and closer and I’m still not sleeping yet.

      5. tangerineRose*

        I’m a night person. Sometimes people will say “Just get to bed earlier”. The problem is that getting to bed earlier doesn’t necessarily equal going to sleep earlier.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          Hear, hear. I’m just not TIRED very early all that often unless I’m sick or it’s a really bad week.

          I keep trying to think of how to translate this into early bird speak. Like maybe that would translate into “Hey, you know how you’re raring to go bounce out of bed at 5 a.m. and go exercise? Yeah, try being forced to go to bed and be sleepy and tired with that feeling going on in your body.”

        2. Aldabra*

          Oh my goodness, yes. I have struggled to go to bed at 10 PM for years (that means “start getting ready for bed,” actually being in the bed is 20-40 minutes later), then with Covid my schedule got changed and I was having to go to bed at 9 PM. It was impossible. I’d go to bed on time and lie awake for hours. I just wasn’t sleepy. Finally I just gave up. I went to bed at 10 and got more sleep than going to bed at 9. Luckily it changed a bit and 9:30 has been my bedtime for a few months – and I’ve been doing sort of OK with it. I get to go back to a later start time next week and I’m going to try sticking with 9:30, so I actually get more sleep. I doubt it’ll work, but I’ll try.

          I was out on medical leave last year for three months, and discovered sleeping from 11 PM – 8:00 AM is my perfect timeframe.

        3. Dennis Feinstein*

          Yes! I’m also a night person. Can’t help it. Just the way I’m built. And I hate that so many “morning” types are so holier-than-thou. “Oh I love getting up at stupid o’clock and getting 15 loads of washing done before the sun is up! La la la!”
          Yeah… but you can’t stay up past 9pm and that’s MY time. Why can’t I do laundry at night? Bake a cake at 10pm? Reorganise my sock drawer and start my taxes at 11pm? Why is morning somehow considered inherently better than night? Surely since the invention of the light bulb we’ve realised we don’t have to go to bed with and get up with the sun…
          I think the OP should start scheduling meetings at 4.30pm for 5pm and see how her snarky colleagues like it!

          1. Dennis Feinstein*

            Ha! Just notice that this posted at 4.46am! Did I get up early or am I still up from the night before?
            Or am I in Australia, where it’s 7.46pm and I’m just starting to wake up…?

    2. Not A Girl Boss*

      Yes, this! Reading “Why We Sleep” finally got me to stop apologizing for not being a morning person and start treating it like a reasonable request. And I found that once I let go of my internal shame and started being more open and “of course this is a reasonable request” about my later start time, people started honoring it more.

      Pre-COVID I worked 7-3:30. Now I WFH 8:30-5 and honestly, am so much happier and more productive because of it. I feel like a whole new person to not be tired all the time. I used to waste my entire weekend sleeping until noon to make up for sleep deprivation during the week, now I keep the same sleep schedule all week long and my REM & Deep sleep is a full hour longer each night.

      The reason I used to work so early in the morning was because I really needed peaceful coffee time before interacting with humans. Now I just don’t turn on IM until 9 (but check email at 8:30).

  23. Absurda*

    No practical advice, OP, but I feel your pain. I am not a morning person, at all. Unfortunately, I do have a lot of conference calls with people in Europe so that means a lot of standing and one-off calls at 8am or 9am my time. I work from home, though, so I’m usually just getting up 15-20 minutes prior to the call and attending in my PJs. I do the rest of my morning routine after the calls.

    I have, occasionally, encountered co-workers do don’t realize I up especially early for these calls and it’s not my regular routine. A co-worker in India once scheduled a meeting including me for the end of his day; he sent out the invite during his morning. When I missed the meeting I found some snarky emails in my inbox about missing the meeting. I flat out informed him that if he wanted me to attend a meeting during my morning he needed to invite me at least 24 hours in advance. Do you have enough clout to do that?

    1. cosmicgorilla*

      I don’t even think it’s a thing of clout. It’s a thing of being willing to push back. I work for a global company, and I sometimes have to take meetings at odd times to meet with folks in wildly differing time zones. If someone sends a meeting at a time that’s not during my normal working hours, I’m going to take a second look at where that person sits. If they’re on the West Coast and just couldn’t be bothered to look at the directory to see that I’m 3 hours ahead, tough. They’re rescheduling.

      1. TechWorker*

        Some people also just get luckier with timezones… I’m in Europe and work with folks in India (~4.5 hours ahead, plenty of overlap) and west coast (8 hours behind (workable overlap, though harder for early birds as in many roles 6pm meetings are common). When folks from all 3 countries need to meet the Indians get shafted though… meetings tend to be 9am/10am US time which is then 9.30/10.30pm – pretty grim. I just consider myself lucky this is considered more reasonable than trying to meet at the end of the US day. US/India meetings do happen then too – but I’ve only been invited to a 5am meeting once! (It was urgent last minute and still going when I came online at 8am… go figure….)

  24. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    [Boss] told me she doesn’t care how I structure my schedule as long as I’m hitting 40 hours and don’t miss any meetings.

    I suspect the early hours/late-notice meeting requests are your co-workers’ passive aggressive way of making you “fail” this requirement in an attempt to get you to conform to the original hours… it seems to me more than just “they want an immediate answer”.

  25. Roy G. Biv*

    I strongly suspect some of those “beginning work earlier is virtuous, and to be lauded” smug mugs also spend the first 45 minutes of the day goofing around, chatting and getting coffee. At work already? Yes. Working? Not so much. It’s just a guess.

    1. Dave*

      Pre-Covid I had two co-workers that spent a good 90 minutes at least 3 days a week chit chatting usually first thing in the morning. Drove me batty when they would complain about needing to stay late to finish their work.

    2. Just Another Zebra*

      So much this. I tend to be a “skate in at 7:59” type of person; my boss and several coworkers like to arrive 15 minutes early. When my boss had a “friendly chat” (his words) with me about my time and perception of lateness, I asked if I was actually late, or just the last to show up. My work was all done, and done well. I took lunch at a regular time, and was back at a regular time. Those early bird coworkers spent 15 minutes getting coffee, another 10 discussing their weekends/ shows they watched/ kids pictures/ whatever, and took extended lunches.

      It’s all about how you manage your time, IMO.

    3. LPUK*

      Yup! When I worked in Germany which has this behaviour to the extreme, people would get into work very early, so that by the time I arrived at 8.30am I could only ever find space right at the far end of our enormous car park, but when I got into the office they’d be sitting in the canteen with their mates and a paper!

  26. Black Horse Dancing*

    Honestly, I can see your co workers point. If it has been common to start meetings with a 30 minute head start, then what they are doing is normal. And many people like early meetings to get them over with. And if they all are online at 7:30 and you are not and they need you to fulfill part of their work, yeah, frustration is bound to occur. Tell them your new, boss oked hours (9am-6pm), ask for notice of meetings the evening before, and also, before you get offline, make sure your work is done for them if they need that part. And if they want 8:00 AM meetings and you are the only one who wants 9 AM, suck it up and get up on those days.

    1. anon73*

      100% disagree. If there’s no reason for having an 8am meeting other than “because we want to” then they need to respect OP’s time.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        They will do the same thing to her. If OP wants 10 AM meeting and they don’t, they can say respect my time because at 10 AM I am doing X, taking a break, doing Y, etc. Or alternate it. Have one meeting at 8:30 the next at 10:30 am. That way everyone gets meetings of their choosing.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Actually the equivalent would be OP requesting a 4:30pm meeting.
          Respecting people’s time means working within their scheduled calendar.

        2. anon73*

          That makes no sense. You schedule meetings around availability. If you need to block out time to get work done/because you have an appointment/etc., you mark it on your calendar as unavailable. It’s no different than OP expecting them to meet at 5:30pm when they’re all off at 4. This isn’t “everyone gets meetings of their choosing”. This is a bunch of bitter children who are being passive aggressive because OP doesn’t work the same schedule.

          1. TechWorker*

            Whilst I generally agree the people scheduling 8.30 meetings need to find better time slots, it’s kinda not the same as OP requesting 4.30 meetings because unfortunately if only one person is on a different schedule, their schedule takes lesser priority. In this example there’s plenty of overlap but if there wasn’t it is generally considered more acceptable to (most of the time) make one person do a particularly late or early meeting rather than the other 10 who have the same schedule.

      2. Not A Girl Boss*

        This. Moving a meeting later in the day impacts your work day flow. Moving a start time earlier impacts someone’s entire life. And demanding someone change their *life* because of your preference is so petty and disrespectful.

        There are 8 hours in a work day, if 6 of them overlap with all members of the team…. schedule it within those 6 hours. If you need more than 6 hours of meetings in a day, you have bigger problems.

        By the way, this accommodation works both ways. The early birds in my office take lunch at 11:30. It’s arguably way harder to avoid 11:30 meetings than 8:30 ones. But I just… don’t schedule meetings at 11:30. I work around their preference 99% of the time, because that’s what decent human coworkers do.

    2. AngryOwl*

      I disagree, regularly scheduling meetings with 30 minutes is just a bad practice. If a bunch of people in an office do a bad thing, that may make it the *office norm* but that doesn’t mean it’s something that should be accepted or protected.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Ughh – so much this. I used to have a supervisor who would schedule meetings with you 10 mins before the start.

        She has since moved on “to things far more in line with my degree” to direct quote her notice to all of us she was moving on. The environment is much less stressful and far more “we’re a team, let’s get this done” now.

        (And only one person on the shift misses her – out of 20 people.)

    3. TPS reporter*

      It can be pretty tough to change your sleep schedule on different days. Having consistency helps make my quality of sleep better and then I’m better in general during the day at staying focused and productive.

    4. Just Another Zebra*

      While I understand your point that if 9 people are ok with a thing and 1 person isn’t, that 1 person should just get on board, I don’t think that’s exactly what’s happening here. OP asked her boss if shifting her schedule would be ok, and it was approved. That’s the end of the conversation. I’m certainly not going to attend a meeting at 7:30am when I don’t get into work for another 90 minutes, just as I would never expect a coworker to get on a conference call with me at 5:45 when they clock out at 4:30. It works both ways. And I know others have said it, but a 30 minute warning for meetings is just bad practice.

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        I understand that but boss also said ‘as long as you don’t miss meetings.’ OP admits she’s missed meetings. (30 minute lead time to me is insane but if it is commonplace at OP’s work, that could be an issue). That’s why OP should learn of these morning meetings the night before when she’s still at work and if 9 of the 10 still want 8:30 AM, OP should simply be there at that time.

        1. Jackalope*

          And how exactly is she supposed to learn about them if they’re added to the schedule an hour before she starts work? As others have pointed out, her boss has approved her schedule and everyone else insisting that she come in an hour before her approved work schedule just in case they happen to feel like having the meeting at 8:30 and they decided at 8 isn’t a reasonable request on their end, and is honestly pretty rude. Schedule it starting at 9, schedule it for 8:30 but send out the meeting notice the day before, have a standing meeting every Wed at 8:30 so she knows what day to start work…. there are several possible ways to make this something that everyone can work with that don’t involve the OP having to change a schedule APPROVED BY HER BOSS that works much better for her.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            I did write that OP needed notice the night before. Yes boss did approve withe the caveat “Don’t miss meetings.” OP admits she has missed some. This is a communication issue because OP needs to know when meetings are and if 9 people want to have this meeting at 8:30 AM and OP wants it at 9:30, those nine people shouldn’t all have to change their schedules for OP. Alternating meeting times may work or, if these meetings are just bi weekly or so, OP can simply be get up early those days.

            1. allathian*

              This. But the main issue isn’t the timing of the meetings, it’s that they’re scheduled half an hour before they start. If they’re scheduled the day before, no doubt the OP could adapt, as long as the meetings are weekly rather than daily. Better yet, have a standing meeting at a certain time every week or whatever.

              I suspect that whoever’s scheduling the meetings is doing it intentionally at the last minute because they don’t like the OP’s later schedule and want to get her in trouble. If that’s the boss, then she’s sending very mixed messages. If it’s a snarky coworker, they need a talking-to from the boss.

            2. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yes, that’s why the issue is not OP’s schedule but rather their coworkers scheduling meetings with such little notice and why Alison suggesting asking their boss to help ask people to make sure morning meetings are schedule the day before instead.

    5. Sunflower*

      This is purely the coworkers wanting to do what they want IMO. I’m on the east coast and 80% of the folks I work with are in Europe. My hours are still 9-5 and we make it work with minimal issues. I work with partners who’s calendars are complete purple with meetings- I very rarely am asked to meet before 9am and never on a consistent basis. We all understand we work at a global company so of course some 8am meetings are expected same as a some 5pm meetings for Europe but generally everyone’s core hours are respected even though we only have 2-3 hours of overlap working time. I understand if I need something from them, I gotta get to them by 12pm. If they need something from me for the next day, they need to ask for it before they log off.

      This is truly mind blowing that a group of people can not figure out a 1.5 hour start time difference when many companies work globally just fine..

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        They can figure it out–it simply may not work with them/they’re not happy with it–just like OP is happier with a later start.

        1. DarnTheMan*

          Not moving meetings by an hour to accommodate OP may not work for them? Unless their schedules are so rigid M-F from 9-5 that the 8:30 AM slot is the only time that possibly works, then it says it’s less about it actually not working for them and more about the co-workers finding ways to make it not work for them.

  27. The New Wanderer*

    I’m a night owl, though not as extreme as when I first started in the workforce. There were people at my company who routinely started their day between 6 and 6:30 am due to traffic, but also due to being capable of maintaining that schedule without getting ill. I asked for and got permission to slide my working hours later than most, although I was always available during core hours (if not in person, then via email/IM/phone). That’s also been the case at other companies I’ve worked for – starting the day at 9 or 9:30 wasn’t held against anyone, but I’ve also never worked anywhere with a true butts-in-seats culture (and wouldn’t do so unless it was my only choice).

    I’m pretty grateful that this wasn’t seen as being a sign of weakness or laziness or worthy of rude comments. In fact, the times that I have been asked to attend a 7 or 8 am meeting, I’d usually get apologies for having it scheduled outside my standard hours.

    To some extent I think the always-on culture has kind of eroded the superiority of the early bird work schedule, at least in my experience. It’s probably very industry-specific, but for companies that don’t have legit business reasons for holding specific hours to be more valuable than others, ideally all the company will care about is someone’s ability to produce what they need to produce and who cares what time of day that happens.

    1. TPS reporter*

      I’m always cognizant of scheduling meetings after 4pm for those people I know start early. So why can’t they do the same for us night owls? Meeting windows (for non urgent issues) within 9-4 seems perfectly acceptable for most types of work.

  28. Anonymity*

    Personally I’d start my workday at 8 to jibe with the rest of the staff. That’s not very early and you’re still sleeping much later than when you had to be at work at 7:30. I’m an extreme night owl but know I have to conform to 7 am meetings.

    1. tangerineRose*

      The co-workers are being so obnoxious over this, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that they care so much. The boss is OK with this. The LW is still putting in the same amount of hours working. Why should the LW have to cater to what the co-workers think in this case?

      1. Black Horse Dancing*

        If they all want early meetings and OP does not, they can say the same thing “Why should we cater to OP? We all want 8:30 am meetings.” Since it appears there are no core hours, the best OP can do is try to work with co workers and boss for something that suits everyone.

        1. Jackalope*

          And why is it okay for them to insist that she change her pre-approved schedule but not okay for them to wait a mere 30 minutes?

          1. miro*

            I think the difference is that OP’s schedule is pre approved only insofar as it doesn’t conflict with meetings. It sounds to me that OP is supposed to defer to the group schedule in the event that a meeting is outside her preferred/later work hours.

            It’s not like the coworkers are pulling these times out of their asses (though they are acting like asses, at least in the case of snarky chat comments), OP says that meetings regularly were at 8 pre-covid.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              It sounds like OP would be willing to do that, if they actually scheduled the meetings far enough in advance for them to *know* they needed to. Scheduling an 8:30 meeting at 8 am is pretty much always a crappy thing to do.

      2. miro*

        Well, because her boss specifically said that she could have this flexible/later schedule provided that she didn’t miss meetings (which, she said, often/usually were at 8am pre-covid). So that sounds to me like OP is supposed to prioritize meetings in the event that they conflict with her otherwise later schedule (aka cater to everyone else’s schedule).

  29. TPS reporter*

    Also a night owl here. I’m the person that emails the early bird at 6pm so they see it when they log in at dawn. 9am is a perfectly acceptable start time. My office is about 50/50 with those that are earlier, those later. Usually if someone has kids they start earlier.

    Either way, expecting someone to respond to emails immediately or accept meeting invites with 30 minutes notice is not reasonable. I have removed email from my phone for that reason. Checking email right away when I woke up was giving me anxiety and not allowing me to start the day on the right foot. It also allowed me space and time to answer the emails which then showed my colleagues that I’m not a reply robot. It is hard sometimes for people to accept a change when you’ve always been a certain way but over time they get it.

    One another strategy I recommend is downloading the Microsoft Teams app on your phone. This shows your calendar only and you can turn off notifications. Email is not included.

    1. JSmith*

      Obviously job-dependent, but I have this kind of working pattern with several colleagues. I pick up and work on our joint projects in the afternoons & evenings, pass over to them to take forward in the mornings, & if we need to meet to discuss in real time, we do it during our overlap hours.
      Back when we were in a physical office, the person at the adjoining desk tended to work 8-4 while I’d do 12-8. So we each had a quieter and larger space for half our day. Was great!

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I actually refused to download Teams onto my phone because it had some pretty intense access requests that I did not feel comfortable approving.

  30. La Triviata*

    At an earlier job a number of years ago, we had modified flextime – there were core hours during which we needed to be in the office, but otherwise we just had to put in eight hours including those hours and we were good. I was on a comparatively early schedule and, so, left early. One woman, who’d taken me in dislike, would make a point of loudly declaring “wow, I’d like to be able to leave early” when she saw me leaving at my usual time. A couple of times I responded that all she had to do was get in earlier … which never made a dent.

  31. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

    We definitely have the opposite at my office, with those who leave much before 4:30-5pm being given a side-eye (no matter what time they start). Right now we are partially back in the office and that means we are way more flexible on core hours, so I now have my dream schedule of 9:30-5:30 (most days more like 9:15-6, but you get the idea!). I finally have enough political capital that I can nix (most) meetings if they start prior to 9:30. Even when I worked 9-5 (which has been my schedule for years, in part bc we need people in the office until 5pm and most people wanted earlier hours, so I happily volunteered), last minute 9am meetings were my nightmare.

  32. JSPA*

    OP, unless all your coworkers are reliably friendly and supportive and have your back, outside of the “early” thing…

    I’d first check if the meeting scheduling is intentional.

    For a few weeks, modify your schedule slightly. Always check email at 8:20 am, and be ready to jump on a meeting, with camera off, at 8:30 am. If they continue to schedule 8:30 am meetings, there’s nothing personal going on. And it makes sense to ask if they could shift later by 15 minutes, or half an hour.

    However, if they suddenly shift to 8:15 am meetings, or 8 am meetings, you’ll have to consider that they actually know about the “but don’t miss meetings” clause, and are messing with you– and your attendance record–on purpose. When someone tells you, “you’re fine except if X happens,” that X is either a target you focus on hitting with perfect accuracy, or it becomes an target on your own back.

  33. ACDC*

    I went through something similar at an old job. I preferred to start work around 6:30/7am because it worked better for my commute, etc. All of my other coworkers started around 9:30/10am. So when I would leave for the day at 3:30/4pm I would get all the snarky comments about how “I always leave early.” Nah dawg, I just started work several hours before you did.

  34. That Girl From Quinn's House.*

    Honestly, the problem seems to be that they won’t wait for an answer and won’t be happy no matter what you do, if whatever you are doing involves making them wait. I had a job like this- I was a manager who worked Core Hours, but we were open longer hours than core hours and so some staff had to be in to cover early/late running programs.

    It was shockingly common for me to check my phone in the morning and find no calls/texts/emails from work, hop in the shower, and by the time I’ve finished showering, find my phone has blown up with “Oh my God are you even coming in today? When you didn’t answer that email I sent you before I got worried! And then you didn’t answer my texts or phone calls I was like, where even IS she? I’ve been trying to get a hold of you ALL MORNING!”

    It probably takes me what, 20-25 minutes to be done showering and running the blowdryer so I can hear my ringer again, so what that means is someone sent me an email, didn’t get an immediate answer, and pulled the fire alarm and freaked out. There’s just nothing you can do to satisfy someone like that.

    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      I had a manager whom I loved but when she emailed, she wanted an immediate response. I was in a different office (we covered 7 counties) and pretty much emailed everything. She needed a file. I saw the email, grabbed the file, and the phone was ringing when I sat back down to email her. Time from her email to her call? 2 minutes.

  35. Elenia25*

    So freakin dumb. Last night I had a meeting at 7 pm. I had a meeting this morning at 9:30 am. No one, not my boss, not anyone, expected me to be in before 9:25 am, and if I really needed to, I could have missed that meeting. My schedule is my own. And I definitely work 9 to…whatever, sometimes if I know I have late meetings I don’t even roll in until 10 am.
    My mother was one of these holier than thou early people. Waking up at 5 am. My energy level is literally not there at 5 am. But in the evening? Bright eyed and chipper.

  36. CatCat*

    I block out all non-work time on my calendar as “out of the office” so if someone is looking at availability to schedule meetings, it will show me as unavailable. I leave a little earlier (4:00 pm) every other Tuesday and this has really helped reduce people sending me invites for meetings at 4:00 pm. (Sometimes that’s the only time, so I will be flexible when needed, but 99% of the time, it just gets scheduled for a time when all participants are available.)

  37. M2*

    If the hours were originally 7:30AM why should things be changed to 9AM just for one person? If you are saving on a commute, could you maybe start work at 8:30 AM (or start early one day a week) and have a happy medium? Sometimes people need to be working similar hours to get things done. Is anyone waiting on LW for work?

    We have a few people on my team who continue the early hours because of virtual learning. They usually start early and others start later, but meetings need to work for everyone. Maybe your entire team needs to have a meeting to discuss schedules.

    My spouse has the opposite problem. They work a 8ish-5/6 and their boss starts at 11/12 and then wants to have meetings at 7, 8, or 9 at night when my partner does bedtime. So now they have calls at 4 or 5PM and the the occasional 9 PM (?!) but my spouse made it clear from 5:30-8:30 they are booked and not available.

    1. tangerineRose*

      Seems like the LW is just asking that they not schedule meetings outside her hours without at least 24 hour notice and that the LW would rather the co-workers weren’t obnoxious about the LW’s hours. Is that too much to ask? It doesn’t sound like any of this is an emergency that demands the LW’s immediate attention.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        It’s not that they need 24 hours notice, just notice before the end of the previous work day.

  38. Akcipitrokulo*

    Also block off your time until 9am on your shared calendar – and get people to check calendars when booking meetings (which is good practice anyway).

  39. Veryanon*

    I block out anything before 8:30am or after 5:00pm on my calendar so I have control over whether to schedule/accept meetings at those times. I’m on the East Coast but work with people all over the world, especially on the West Coast; I’ve found that sometimes people don’t think about other time zones when they schedule a meeting that might be at 5pm their time, but 8pm my time. I know a lot of my West Coast colleagues do the same so that we East Coasters don’t inadvertently schedule something at 5:30am their time.

  40. itsjustanothergirl*

    You can set your own work hours in Google Calendar, assuming your company uses that. I shifted to 11 – 7 because I’m also a night owl and it’s helpful as many of the people I need to work with are on the west coast while I’m on the east coast. We also have the ‘working hours’ setting available in Slack. Even if you don’t have the functionality to set your available hours in your calendar system, you could block off your non-working time in your calendar so people aren’t able to schedule meetings then.

    Personally, unless your role is one where emergencies can happen outside of work hours, I absolutely refuse to check emails/Slack/etc when I’m not on the clock and will advise anyone I speak to about doing the same. There’s no need to add stress to your sanctuary (your bed/bedroom) by bringing work into it. People can wait til you’re at work.

  41. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

    My husband is a total night owl. For years he tried to work “normal” hours, and he was always cranky. He finally got a new boss who was sympathetic and he started flexing his hours much later (10-7). As long as his boss is ok with it, and he starts earlier when he needs to for client visits or important meetings, etc. then there isn’t and shouldn’t be an issue. As Allison said, there’s this weird idea that persists that “early is good, and later is bad”, and it would be nice if it stopped.

  42. in a fog*

    OMG, I could have written this letter at previous workplaces. A coworker several jobs ago once made a comment about how I worked “so late”…when I left at 6 p.m. That was right after I shifted industries; in the previous one, I’d occasionally been in meetings or on deadline until 2 a.m.! My schedule now is generally 9:30/10 to 6:30/7, and that’s perfect for me.

    I agree with many of the previous suggestions: Setting your work hours on your calendar, emailing your coworkers at the tail end of your day so they can see how engaged you are. I’m also curious about when you take lunch — I usually shift mine on the later side so I get a few good hours in before taking an obvious break. If you’re comfortable doing so, maybe poke a few jokes at your own schedule — I’ve found that it tends to diffuse the tension. I would have responded to those snarky comments in the group chat with something like “Oh, yeah, that’s me! Just sleeping my workday away. It’s amazing I get anything done.” Obviously, that’s not a great option for everyone, though!

    After a certain point, try to not let it bother you. If your coworkers are getting hung up on a simple schedule change, especially at this moment in history, then that says more about them than anything. If your boss is happy with you and you’re getting your work done, they’ll just have to get used to it.

  43. What is work life balance?*

    I feel your pain. I also had an early schedule in the office. It wasn’t at all uncommon, although my direct boss is a late person. It never caused problems when we were in person. On a rare occasion they’d schedule a meeting after my quit time, or I’d need to schedule one before my boss’s start time, but everyone generally respected the outlying hours and only did that when there was no other option.

    Skip to COVID. I have a daily meeting that is scheduled after my quitting time and it ALWAYS runs over. Even though I prefer my early schedule, I started later most days with my bosses blessing to make it even out. It’s not officially sanctioned by HR, but it works. Or it worked. Until people then started scheduling things early for me too. So, yeah, the lack of respect for personal life during COVID WFH is just a real treat.

  44. Firecat*

    While your coworkers didn’t handle this well, I do think you are better off sitting down with the worst offenders to listen if this is really impacting them.

    Right now I get the sense that you are mostly avoiding this – and your coworkers are certainly being passive aggressive about their dislike of your schedule, but that doesn’t excuse your responsibility to make sure that a special perk only you are using isn’t negatively impacting the team.

    Ideally your manager would have helped with this and officially announced your new schedule but it doesn’t sound like they did so if you want to keep the perk you may have to own that piece.

  45. WFH with Cat*

    OP, perhaps I missed a detail … but have you and/or your boss ever explained to the team that your schedule has been adjusted with the boss’s approval? If not, you might want to send a polite email to the team at large addressing it directly so that people are clear that you work different hours from the majority.

    I also think it would also behoove you to sort our your own schedule so that you can consistently start work at the same time every day, and people can rely on that. Starting work “around 9 most days” may work for you, but it’s not fair to expect your colleagues to accommodate you working a different/later schedule *and* not being reliably available to start your work day at a given time.

    (I have found that what is most frustrating to co-workers is not knowing when someone is going to actually show up/start working each day … and when they usually take lunch. Knowing those two things makes it much easier to plan meeting times, advise clients/customers when to call back, etc.)

    1. Anon100*

      This. Reading the letter, I didn’t see anywhere that the LW’s new schedule was communicated to the rest of the team. Maybe boss was supposed to do it and didn’t? If that’s the case, then I kinda understand where the passive-aggressiveness is coming from from both the coworkers and LW. I think LW should make it clear to the team that their hours are now 9-5 or whatever, and has boss’ approval.

      Also, I’ve seen a new signature line in some state regulator’s email sigs: “Because of the COVID-19 virus and the need for safety precautions, many employees are working remotely. My hours are 7-3:30.” Makes it clear that I shouldn’t expect a same day response after 3:30.

    2. EventPlannerGal*

      Yes, I’m curious about that as well – OP says that she has tried “mentioning to the people that are most offended”, but I think when people are already offended and annoyed that you appear to be late/have missed a meeting/etc they are not going to be taking the details of your schedule fully on board. Don’t wait until people are already annoyed then mention it to a couple of people and hope word spreads – make it as clear as possible to *everybody* (a post on your main group chat outlining your new hours, auto-reply, away messages, blocking the calendar, whatever) so they have no excuse to be mad.

      Also, I think that this part of Alison’s answer is related: “Maybe they think you’re getting away with something you shouldn’t be, and spelling that out will help.” If you haven’t officially brought up the change in hours and then justify it retrospectively only when people get offended, it may be making it look like you are just late and making excuses.

    3. Oof*

      I wondered this as well! I got the impression that as she got lazier, she was starting late, prior to changing her schedule. If that had started rubbing people the wrong way, and then they were never informed of the new schedule, the situation is a bit more understandable. Not that it’s right, mind you, but understandable. That might be the best way for the manager to talk to the team, making the OP’s new schedule clear, setting some core hours, and offering that flexibility to others. An open discussion could also resolve any unknown team issues that may have come up for others, even though this works for the OP and the manager. So many people tend to just absorb things instead of bringing them up, or the change from this works best to this works fine – there are a lot of ways points that could be resolved by the manager.

  46. Charlotte Lucas*

    So, my dad worked the graveyard shift when I was a kid. He would be asleep when we got up for school & got up around noon. My immediate family never had the mindset that one way of being was more virtuous than the other. They’re just different. I took after him & would stay up
    all night studying or writing papers in high school. My mom didn’t complain because my grades were good, and to take breaks I would do laundry or bake brownies. Usually both.

  47. Rez123*

    Ah, the eternal battle in my office.
    Our core hours are 10-14. A lot of people start 6am and finish at 2pm. Some of us start between 9-10. Then people who like to start early also have their lunch early. Since early birds are better humans the meetings absolutely have to end at 2pm. But meetings cannot interfere with their lunch hour which is about the time we are settling to work. We all work the same 40h and I would consider it being a benefit that the office is staffed between 6-18.

    Then comes the snide comments about wasting day and not having evening time at home. I thought we all have 24h?! And oh dear, if you come in early on some days everyone has to come over and comment on it.

    To be fair, most of us have learned each others schedules and can work around them that these comments and problems are with a minority.

  48. RussianInTexas*

    I am not an early bird, but I kept my starting at 8am schedule while WFH, but the fact that I don’t have to drive to work, and get ready before driving to work have literally awarded me an extra hour in the morning. And that is even with leisure breakfast I have now, instead of chugging down some yogurt while at my desk.
    At my old job people had schedules all over the board – we were in a very busy traffic area and due to the ridiculously spread out nature of my city people commuted 20-30 miles in the rush hour. So some started really early, some started really late. One woman started early because she wanted to be home when her kids got home from school (her husband made sure they got on the bus in the morning).
    Unless various starting times have negative effect on the actual work, who cares?

  49. anonforthis*

    Hi there – how many coworkers are giving you grief about this? to be more clear, how many coworkers are accustomed to having these earlier meetings? I’m a very hands off manager (as I’m in executive management and trust my direct reports to act with discretion), and we have flex time at our office. So I am not sure when meetings between teams are taking place, or among my direct reports. I would absolutely tell a direct report to work the hours that they like, as long as they don’t miss any meetings. However, if I learned after saying this that it meant that 10 people had to reschedule their days as well, I would likely tell the person to keep the earlier schedule. So, part of me is wondering, does you shifting later in the day affect several other coworkers? Are there other reasons why it works better for them to meet earlier? If your colleagues have client meetings starting at 9 that they would then have to push, for example, that may affect how you want to approach your work start time. Suffice to say though, I also love not commuting and am THRILLED that my commute now involves walking down to my office at 7:30am as opposed to battling traffic starting at 6:45. Even without a later start, I get an hour more sleep!

  50. RoseDark*

    My coffee shop job is 8 hours a day, 12:30-8:30 pm. It’s glorious and I can sleep in until 10 if I really want to. 8 hours is 8 hours, no matter when you start it. These coworkers sound annoying.

  51. Ray Gillette*

    No matter what your schedule is, if it’s different from other people in your office, odds are someone is going to say something ridiculous. It’s 50% office culture and 50% general human nature. I’m an early riser out of habit if not inclination, and there was a long stretch where people who rolled into the office around 10 would give me crap for “leaving early” at 4 when I’d been in the office since 7. Some people seem inclined to believe that anyone who does anything differently from them must be getting away with something.

    1. EngineerMom*

      Oo, I hadn’t thought of that part – the folks who come later giving the folks who leave earlier grief!

      Presence isn’t accomplishment. Barring a need to be available to customers, if the work’s getting done, who really cares what time folks come in?

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I had a owner/boss like that. I started at 8, but he and his girlfriend would only roll in at 10 or 11 because they went to the gym or whatever. Fine, but then the owner would get mad at me for leaving at 5 or 6 in the evening. He’d even call the office sometimes right as I was walking in at 8 or 8:05 because he didn’t believe me. Such a jerk.

  52. EngineerMom*

    I generally work 7-4. That’s my preferred schedule, due to a variety of factors.

    I have one coworker who works 6-3, another who works 9-6, another who works 8-4:30 with only a 30-minute lunch (again, that person’s preference). I have other coworkers who work odd hours due to needing to take care of children in the middle of the day (so online from like 6-9, then offline for a few hours in the middle of the day, online again for a couple hours in the afternoon, and then online again a few hours on Sunday afternoon to catch up). We all use Outlook to show our regular schedules (you can set your “Work time” and add repeating “meetings” to block out time in your schedule to help communicate availability).

    I have several coworkers whose religious practices include set prayer times, and they also use private recurring meetings to block out that time so they don’t miss their prayers. That makes it easier on the those of us who don’t practice those particular religions to accommodate the time they need.

    I also work with people in a bunch of different time zones, from Pacific, Mountain, several European time zones, and a handful of folks in India. There are people with whom I have regular meetings who work a schedule completely the opposite of mine, so we both compromise – I come in half an hour early, they stay a little late.

    There’s a standing unspoken policy that if you want people to show up for a meeting that’s not between 9-2, you have to schedule it at least 2 days in advance or confirm with the person they’re available (if it’s outside their normal working hours).

    Folks who can’t adjust aren’t going to survive in a global climate. There is one main issue here – coworkers who are being snarky and scheduling last-minute early-morning meetings when they know OP isn’t going to be in the office in time to get the invitation.

    If something isn’t desperate enough to call OPs phone (or that emergency pager OP mentioned) at 8am, it can damn well wait until OP is up and in the office as usual at 8:45 or whatever.

    If it’s that important, they should call OP, not make snarky comments about OP’s sleep schedule.

    1. Black Horse Dancing*

      It appears from OP’s letter that the 8 AM meetings are the norm and were common before COVID. And that her co workers prefer it even when WFH. If OP is the only one who wants later meetings, I can’t see why all her co workers need to adapt to her.

  53. Name Required*

    Your coworkers sound like jerks, regardless of your schedule. You don’t complain to your coworker’s face on a shared Slack channel when their schedule doesn’t suit you. Unreasonable people will always act unreasonably.

  54. MarissaC*

    I had a problem with folks in my office adding 9 am Monday morning meetings (at an office where it was not unusual for people to arrive at 9:30 or 10am) after I had left for the day on Friday and I really try to keep good work/life balance and not check my work email all weekend. Then I would check my email on my way in on Monday and realize I was running late for that 9am meeting. I fixed it by adding a calendar block from 9am to 9:30 on Mondays. In our office it’s not unusual for folks to just have times blocked off with “Do Not Book,” but if that is not appropriate you can always create something more along the lines of “Personal Focus Time” or something like that from 8:00-9:00am on your calendar. I also always told folks I worked closely with they were free to book over that time, but to just give me a heads up via text if they needed me that early.

  55. MissDisplaced*

    In my company we are all required to maintain standard work hours availability of 8-5. Usually people try to be courteous and not schedule meetings until 9am, even if the attendees are on on West Coast time, unless it’s scheduled well in advance. It is really, really rude to ‘get invited to a 8:30 meeting without prior notice unless it was an emergency.

    Of course there are always some exceptions, but generally it’s an office courtesy to try to block meetings between 9 and 4 to allow a buffer zone.

  56. Black Horse Dancing*

    I read the letter again and I wonder if other people skipped this as I did. Prior to covid, ” it was common to have 8 am meetings …” And then OP mentions that her co workers “my coworkers, who seem to love starting at 7:30 so much they still do it.” So it appears OP is the only one starting later and her co workers do prefer those early meetings. Are these meetings weekly? Monthly? If you want everyone to shift their schedule for you, I think that’s not going to be easy. Starting later, yes. Just insist on prior notice the night before.

  57. Susana*

    Oh, please, schedule a meeting for 5:30 and get mad when no one is still working… and metaphorically wag your finger at them for not still working.

  58. LizM*

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but my version of Outlook has a feature that lets you set your regular business hours and shows you as unavailable outside of those hours. That won’t help all of the issues, but could create a visual reminder that you don’t start your day until 9.

  59. Heat's Kitchen*

    In Outlook you can also schedule your business hours. But I will say, if it’s common in your org to have 8 or 830 meetings, I’d plan on being up before 8am. You don’t necessarily HAVE to start work by then, but at least check your email, turn on your IMs, etc. It’s not unusual for me to not get answers to my IMs right away, so the fact that they’re mad is weird.

    For the record, I’d be super annoyed & weirded out if someone put up a daily out of office message. I’d find this really out of touch and overbearing (though I get why it was suggested in this context).

  60. miro*

    I’m a bit late here (fitting, ha!) but one thing I haven’t seen a ton of focus on in other comments is OP’s mention that pre-covid they often (or usually?) had meetings at 8am. So, coworkers expecting her to be awake/working at 8 aren’t doing that out of nowhere, or to spite her and her new schedule (which, as some other commenters have flagged, they might not have had clearly communicated to them).

    Given that that seems to be a standing practice at this org, I wonder if the boss’ comment about not missing meetings had these 8am/8:30 meetings in mind specifically as something OP needed to keep (rather than it being a more general/vague comment by the boss). It wasn’t clear to me from the letter whether OP is only missing meetings when they’re scheduled 30 min before they start or if it’s happened other times.

    1. miro*

      To add: I think a lot of the focus here has been on an assumed early bird vs night owl tension, but I’m wondering if it’s really more of a traditional (and group-wide) schedule vs new (and individual) schedule tension.

  61. Squirrely*

    If indeed a 9AM start is approved, I would do a recurring calendar block and use the “working hours” feature in Google or something similar.

    I work in programs at a non-profit, and so three days a week I start at 11:30 in the morning because I work until 7:30. Most of my office starts at 10am, and some start at 8:30 or 9.

    I typically just used the working hours feature in Google- which does a tiny pop up that says “you are scheduling this meeting outside of work hours, can you confirm?” That works mostly- when I am in busy season and exhausted (as I am now), I have a recurring calendar invite from 9-11:30 that is just me out of the office to reinforce to people I am not working then.

    I am now exempt from OT, and everybody knows I’m sleeping, but I would still not be expected to be on for a meeting before 11:30. There are some pre-scheduled all-office meetings, but those are weeks in advance. The difference, I think, is my team and office know these are my hours.

  62. cncx*

    yes, my time to shine, my normal office hours in the office are 930 to 630, i have a 45 minute commute so when i’m wfh i’m 830 to 530 and i’m available for the US team until seven ish, but off vpn at 530 checking my phone email only. It never fails that my coworkers here who start at seven have drama that isn’t drama because they want to start at the crack of dawn. I’m just supposed to be magically available because they got an early start and it’s annoying because there isn’t a peep after four pm but no one sees that.

    a couple things helped, i’m based in europe:
    * my boss made it clear to management that i have a late start to have overlap with the US team so anyone who complains needs to understand that i can’t and am not paid to be on the clock from 630 to 630; that he will personally pick up out of hours requests to decide if they are worth paying me overtime
    * i do what alison said, when i’m wfh i have an out of office that runs from nine to five (to give me time to warm up and shut down) saying “my office hours are 830 to 530 during wfh and any requests received after 5pm, including phone or sms, will be dealt with the next busines day (so that in evenings i am ONLY doing stuff for the US team)
    * when i have a hard open or close (like if i have class or errands) it is in my calendar.

    I think OP would be served well to have her manager do some of the heavy lifting on this as well. People backed way off with the snitty comments about me oversleeping and waltzing in with a starbucks at 930 once my boss went to bat on this and made sure it was Not A Thing.

  63. babblemouth*

    I start work at 8 and I find meetings before 9 rude, frankly. Sometimes that can’t be avoided because everyone’s schedule is genuinely packed so that’s when we do it, but between 8 and 9 is when I plan out my day, get small tasks out of the way, catch up on unread emails. My point is, it’s not unusual at all, for many reasons, to ask not to have meetings before 9, and you wouldn’t be out of touch to request that.

    1. Carlie*

      Me too. I am a morning person in when I get up, but that is partly because I need a long lead-in time to be able to deal with people and things. It’s really annoying to have meetings before I’m totally set and ready for the day; having them shortly after I wake up would… lead people to have a very different view of my personality, to say the least.

  64. Gamer Girl*

    I used to experience this while student teaching–I had two cooperating teachers who pushed back at me arriving “late” at 6:45 am! (School started at 7:15, and we were required by the school to be there half an hour before. Both preferred to arrive at 5:30am *at the latest*! And continually tried to insist that I arrive then too.).

    Besides commuting nearly an hour one-way more like 1.5 if it snowed), I had night classes from 7pm to 10pm nearly every weeknight and then had to grade online homework for the class I TA’d three nights/week… So, even if I got 30 mini-essays graded within an hour, the earliest I could go to bed was 11:30pm. Had I actually gone in for 5:30 every morning, I would have been getting 4.5 hours of sleep per night!

    My supervising professors at the university had to step in and tell them that they were being ridiculous, that they had been told my schedule multiple times, and that it was unsafe to require me to drive every day through snow and ice for 1.5 hours just to be there at 5:30am!

    tl;dr: Sometimes people just assume that everyone can/should go to sleep at 8pm on the dot, just like they do.

  65. Erin*

    For the employee who shifted their hours:

    Block out your calendar until 9am. That way, there’s no expectation that you will be available to attend an 8:30 meeting. This might also eliminate the snarking because the time boundaries have been set, so it is just pretty garden-variety meeting scheduling stuff.

  66. Belle8bete*

    I’m naturally a night owl, and I have sleep apnea plus a form of narcolepsy. Being sleep deprived for too many days in a row can really mess with me. I have successfully done gigs that required me to be up at 6 or 7, but whenever I have the choice I don’t do that. I have been able to make a career around jobs that happen during the after school/night time.

    I’ve absolutely gotten looks or eye rolls from peers when I say “no, I don’t take gigs that will require me up before 10am, or from reception at offices when I say I can’t come to an appointment before 10:30, etc. But screw them. I’m not lazy—I just picked jobs that happen mostly from 3pm-10pm.

    Don’t think of yourself as lazy, because you aren’t. You are just letting yourself actually sleep, and in our culture that’s strangely not okay with some people

    1. LPUK*

      That last paragraph from Alison really strikes home. I too am a late owl and getting yup and being expected to be functional by 7.30am just leads to migraines for me, so i prefer to start and finish later. luckily I now work as a consultant so i have more flexibility and fewer meetings ( Aiasn conference calls are brutal bt I can go back to bed later on!) and if something is needed first thing in the morning, then I’d rather work up til midnight to get it done.

      Although I work in UK, I have mostly worked for US companies and being both a night owl AND an introvert, the work culture has always been difficult for me.

  67. boop the first*

    Hmm okay. Would I be totally off-base in thinking that we can’t have everything, though? This sounds frustrating, sure, but insisting on being the odd one out would have trade-offs, though, and this just sounds like the trade-off. Missing messages sounds like my anxiety nightmare, but if I didn’t want to be ostracized, I could just… be more accommodating. This sounds like reasonable consequences to me.

    I’d be the type who’d be up for 6am start just to get it over early, but if I’m the ONLY one there for an hour and a half, and I can’t start anything until others check in, can I really be mad?

    1. boop the first*

      And I’m not saying you should just bend to their will, I’m just saying that this grumbling might be something you just deem acceptable payment for your personal needs.

  68. LPUK*

    That last paragraph from Alison really strikes home. I too am a late owl and getting yup and being expected to be functional by 7.30am just leads to migraines for me, so i prefer to start and finish later. luckily I now work as a consultant so i have more flexibility and fewer meetings ( Aiasn conference calls are brutal bt I can go back to bed later on!) and if something is needed first thing in the morning, then I’d rather work up til midnight to get it done.

    Although I work in UK, I have mostly worked for US companies and being both a night owl AND an introvert, the work culture has always been difficult for me.

  69. WonderWoman*

    There is a literally a debate in the Talmud about whether it’s better to be an early bird or a night owl. So this issue has been controversial for quite a while, to say the least.

  70. Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery*

    I applied for a job at a place where they had some people that start early and others that started late and they just had a large window of time where they booked meetings that suited all of them. It’s not that freaking hard.

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