Personal Work During Business Hours - CiteHR
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Partner - Risk Management
Hr & Ir
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Raj Kumar Hansdah
Shrm, Od, Hrd, Pms
Harsh Shukla
Ceo And Md Of 3 Uk Based Mnc's
+1 Other

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Dear Sir,
My boss (Associate Vice President ) of an Indian company spends most of his office time doing personal things,like,going to a nearby gym ,going to spa,saloon etc.On the tours with me,I have observed him spending most of the time boozing in plush hotels and in pools.Somehow he gets away from his boss as his boss is located in another city.Worst is,since he is a bachelor,he comes to office on Sundays & expects us to do the same.Also , he exploits his subordinates by getting his presentations done by them who have no option but to burn midnight oils for his boss in fear of negative feedback,while this AVP enjoys some party at some place.I had raised the issue subtlety to our local Hr,but in vain.Is there anything from the labour board or any of the concerned authorities to caution him because y company my company doesn\'t seem to care.Pls note ,it is boldly written in employee area\" WORKING HOURS 10AM-6PM,MONDAY TO SATURDAY\"

Dear Saumya,

What is happening is quite unfortunate. Just yesterday, there was post titled "Personal Business During Working Hours". I have given reply to this post. But at least the person who spent time in personal activities was junior one and not AVP as in your case.

Senior level position becomes sinecure when no deliverables are attached to that position. What is the function of this AVP? Is he from Ops, Marketing, Sales or something else? What is the nature of your industry? These kind of things happen when:

a) Proper measures of performance are not well in place. How the work is measured on quality, quantity, accuracy, timeliness etc? How come no fault is happening on this count and how is he escaping from the customer dissatisfaction or anything else?

b) Your AVP's boss has poor leadership skills. Neither is he controlling his immediate junior i.e. AVP nor is he in touch with the grass root employees. There is clear disconnect.

c) HR should have been proactive in finding out what is happening and passing on confidential reports to the organisation's head. Now even after bringing this fact to the notice of HR, they are laid back. This could be because of two reasons, either HR also has ceremonial role or if they have adequate power then they do not know how to exercise it.

d) Who would like to work under these kind of managers? This also is the cause of attrition. Seniors supposed to be role models. What motivation juniors can have from this type of AVP?

Now coming to solution. Anyway, enjoyment is written in the fate of certain type of people. Nothing can be done if your MD is supporting this AVP.

How many persons work in your office? How come nobody has differences with this person? If you wish to take on this person then somehow generate evidence of his absence from the office and send it anonymously to MD. See if something happens.

Other seniors may contribute their ideas.


Dinesh V Divekar

This is a complaint I have come across many times.
My only advice is concentrate on your own work and ensure it is first class.
There is no need to meet his expectation to come in on Sundays. Just do not turn up and see what he says. Probably nothing.
I do wonder, though, given his style as you see it, why does he come in on Sunday? Is it to catch up on his work?
As far as you doing his work, I can only suggest that you make some subtle errors; either he will pick them up and eventually start doing his own work or he will miss them and his boss will pick them up and he will have to deal with the consequences.
Authorities, such as the Labour Board, have no powers to dictate what senior managers get up to as long as it is not illegal.
Don't worry what your boss gets up to. It will all catch up on him sooner or later.
I hope the above helps and gives some food for thought.

Ans) Itís an highly disorganized Multi-Level-Marketing company and you know how murky dealings are in these type of companies.The company is Xxxxxxx and my AVPís name is Xxxxxxx Xxx has also been using company funds for his own spending(as finance reports to him & there is no proper audit system in place).Also,he has been found out in various integrity& infidelity issues with lady co-workers but everyone in the region turns a blind eye to it,some due to fear of losing his/her job & some to favor him.

Ans) There is no proper appraisal system and one who is in good books of Mr.Xxx(due to unethical favors) is well appraised and the oneís who refuse to get the raw deal.As far as the customer dissatisfaction issue,He is never in the foefront in this peopleís business(the sales drive is by company policy by the MLM networkers & not by management).So as long as he keeps the top Leaders happy with whatever means ,he keeps complaints at bay.Though he is

Moderator's note : I found this on a new thread, and have merged it here. Apparently, Ms Somya was trying to give more information and responding to the queries. However, it seems that by mistake she started another thread.

The names of person and company has been masked.


Hello Saumyasengupta,

I have a different take on your situation--closer to Harsh's.

First of all, pl give more details about YOUR role/designation/responsibilities, since when are you working in this company, etc--that will enable the members to give well-focused suggestions.

Coming to the queries you raised, before going into the possibilities of any action that MAY/CAN be taken against this AVP, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BE BENEFITED by any action that may/can be taken? Will you get his position? OR do you expect any Raise OR Promotion?

This is NOT TO SAY that the issue you raised is wrong or incorrect.

What I am trying to point to is: look @ the situation from DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.


You have ONLY mentioned the PRESENT behavioral pattern of the AVP. You have not mentioned anything about his EARLIER track record in the Company [to the extent you know of]--for all you know, he MAY HAVE already proven his worth to the Company & BECAUSE OF WHICH, he is being given some leeway into how he operates NOW. It COULD be just a coincidence that you landed to work with him AFTER he proved his worth?


Irrespective of how & what the AVP does OR doesn't do, is he or his actions in YOUR control? Obviously NOT. What's in your control is how YOU work. It's UPTO YOU on what you make of it--for the BETTER OR WORSE.

Obviously, you ARE NOT doing your work BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO DO IT or you love your work. Your line ".....getting his presentations done by them who have no option but to burn midnight oils for his boss in fear of negative feedback......." is a very clear giveaway.

Frankly, such an attitude towards work--at any level--wouldn't take one very far. And even IF one manages to go far NOT due to efficiency or commitment but thru other means, the price of such success would surely be VERY HIGH. The choice is AGAIN the individual's--followed by the consequences of such actions, which, have NO DOUBT, the individual will HAVE TO PAY at some time or the other.


You have not mentioned your experience or designation level.

IF it's not a high level, usually this is the chance one gets to LEARN. I am not sure, BUT if you are suggesting that doing/making Presentations doesn't give you any learning, frankly, I think you ARE WRONG. Even the most simplest of acts like watering a plant, etc ALWAYS give a scope to learn. It's for that individual to figure-out & decide IF he/she wants to learn or ONLY work for the salary that one gets @ the end of the month.

And if wish to say that 'I want to learn THIS BUT NOT THAT', suggest focus on WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE ON YOUR PLATE, & NOT WHAT YOU WANT later-on.

Maybe, by such acts, your AVP is--without realizing--giving you a chance to learn new things? Something that you wouldn't have got a chance in the normal situation?


IF you REALLY are vexed & can't take it anymore, why don't or didn't you QUIT?

If this response disappointed or hurt you, that wasn't the intent.

All the Best.



Dear Sowmya,
I agree with TS comments.
Take it positive.
You are getting good opportunities for learning.
Learn the job and your profile will be rich and think that it is part of delegation by your AVP.
I have seen some bosses who never delegate in the fear of loosing identity and that is worse than this situation.
Leave all other conduct related issues to the Management and as an experienced HR Head I can vouch that such kind of indiscipline will come to notice of top management very soon and AVP will have to pay for it.
You need to be cool and do whatever official assignments/ppts given by your boss and do it with efficiency.
As somebody said above, do not incorporate mistakes failing which AVP will loose confidence in you and your career will suffer.

There are some inconsistencies in this post and some points of view as TS said earlier.

1. Senior management has a lot of lee way in many companies. It depends on how he delivers. If he gives the result, the bosses are not going to bother. Then it does not matter if he takes an hour off at the gym or for that matter spends half a working day at the golf course. There is nothing you can do about it till you your self reach a high management post.

2. Your vp on tour spends all his time drinking and lounging in the pool ? Are you with him at that time ? Or are you elsewhere ? If you are elsewhere, how do you know he was "boozing" ? If you were with him, I would like to know what you were doing.

Also the purpose and frequency of the trip makes a difference. I know of some high stress jobs where vp level persons would be encouraged to take a few days off every 6 months by accompanying out station trips to get away from office and at the same time keep an eye on the work the team is doing

The main question is, what was the trip for ?

How was the objectives attained / met if the vp was in the pool all the time ?

I am sure if the objectives are not met, then the vp would be questioned by his boss.

3. Working on a Sunday is something I frown on. But the question is, how many Sundays in a year is a person called in ? Every Sunday (then definitely needs to be taken up with hr or directors). Different people called on each Sunday with you affected twice a quarter ? In that case, you should not be crying too much.

Again, what is the Sunday call for ?is it something that can't be done during the work week ? Is it to meet a reporting Monday deadline (weekly reporting ? Monthly reporting ?)

You can always avoid Sundays by saying you have prior appointment that can't be changed.

4. Presentation : do you actually expect a vp to make his own presentation ? Which world are you in ? Everywhere, whether in india or in western counties, presentations are made by juniors, verified by and at times corrected by the vp for his use. Why do people have to burn midnight oil ? Is the presentation give at the last moment ? Always ? Or corrections come at the last min ? (Again, this is common all over the world)

5. What options do you have ? On paper, you can complain to hr, or to a grivience committee in the office. In reality, you have none. Any complain you make will finish your career there. It is obvious the vp is well respected by the management.

If you find the work environment unacceptable, change your job. But don't be surprised if the same situation is at your new office,

I would like to know the answers to my queries as it makes for a good case study

I have read the messages in this thread with interest. Whenever we post messages without enough information about the scenario, more questions are generated than solutions are given.

Let me quote a few examples from my experience how bosses get away with certain behavior and how some of their requests helps us to learn. When I was a kid, I had known a Deputy Registrar of an Institution stay late every evening till 8pm and then go home. So, some workers were forced to stay late. During the day time he spent time reading newspapers. The rumor was that the family life was not good and, hence, to avoid hassle at home, he stayed late at work. When the position of the Registrar became vacant, he got that job.

Where I worked, once a boss came and asked for someone to help him writing his presentation on a new Productivity Bonus Scheme, as his handwriting was not good. Those were the days when computers were not known. In academia, it is quite customary for a professor to get his work done by research scholars. Research scholars, in turn, learn from the guidance that the professor provides. Some professors are known to have written hundreds of papers, as they expect their name to be put on every paper written by their students. One Dean of a Business School, took help of a number of staff to get a book on Ethics published; he only mentioned their contribution in the foreword; he pocketed all the royalty and was given the tittle of Professor by the university for publishing the book.

In a hospital, a head of cancer research gets most of the research work done by his subordinates and attends conferences and liaises with companies for funds, which involves international travel etc. His juniors learn how to prepare effective presentations and write papers under his guidance.

Apparently bank manager played golf during working hours; however he was making friends with hospital consultants, etc., who had day offs and playing golf; he was generating business during such outings.

I take this opportunity to APPEAL to bloggers to give all the DETAIL of a SCENARIO at the OUTSET to save time and effort of advisors in generating questions.

Dear Saswata,

You have given quite long reply. It is point by point too. Nevertheless, instead of giving reply point by point, I can sum it up as follows:

a) You have swept many issues under the carpet.

b) Generalisation of some of the issues thereby dismissing it as fait accompli.

c) Your post projects image that juniors should learn to live in a state of self-denial.

Anyway, you have given your perceptions. However, let me tell you that in hardcore performance centric organisations, this is just not possible.

In Bangalore, there is famous garment manufacturing company. MD is very quality-conscious. Once he found that in the corridor, two merchandisers were joking and laughing. He told them (of course politely), instead of wasting time in joking and laughing, they could concentrate on enhancing the quality level from 99.9 to 100%

Now tell me will this kind of VP survive in that garment manufacturing company?

On the other side, a famous hotel in Bangalore had a Director who use to rub everybody in a wrong way. This went on for years. Attrition level was 60-70% Management never bothered about what was happening at ground level. When sustenance became too difficult because of competition, then they realised that this Director was the problem. They removed this Director but by the time it was too late. They lost the race and they are losers forever!

The problem is not with the VP as such but the management of the company has problems. Leadership is living in ivory tower and they do not want to take feedback from ground level.

Lastly, you have told to quit this company. Anyway, that I also had told in my previous post without having any negative undertone!


Dinesh V Divekar

Dear Dinesh

Yes, i have swept a lot of things under the carpet.

Well, others have already provided their inputs (again, apt and necessary) so i didnt repeat the same. The truth of the matter is that in most cases, junior staff do not have an option in such cases. What can they do if the management is not bothered. There could be many reasons for which the management turns a blind eye. Since we do not know details, we cant analyse that either.

Its not a state of self-denial.

Its a question of what can you do if the management is not going to take action ? If there is a grievance redressal mechanism, you can try through it. Most probably you are going to get noted as a trouble maker and your life will be miserable. What is the likely-hood that there is some serious (and senior enough) manager on the grievance panel who will take action. To my mind, if there was a serious system in place, it would have caught the VP accordingly anyway.

Do you think the boss does not know the VP is going to the gym during office hours ? Do you think the boss is so useless (remember VP's Boss is the President or director) that he does not know that this person is in the hotel having a drink or in the pool at whatever hour ? Surely he must be calling and speaking. Another question : who pays for the "booze" ? company ? the VP ? which VP has enough spare money to drink away in the hotel all the time with his own money ? These are questions which makes me thing there is more to the matter that we know about at this point of time. If the company is paying the drinks bill, perhaps there is a reason. May be there is some government official who he is with. Will the junior know of this ?

The other side of the story is whether the juniors have the right perspective. Remember the post a week back saying he wants to complain to the labour commissioner that his department is working as slaves while other departments are allowed leave ?

I still consider this as an interesting case study. Our Moderator has put in some more perspective. As have you with points on what happens when management ignores the problems reported by the employees.

But again, i will ask : what can the employee really do ? I still say - nothing

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