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Dealing with Co-workers who Drop In On their Day Off

This morning, our grade schooler asked a question she found printed on a tube of Gogurt: Which one are you more scared of, spiders or a day off?

Hmm. I went with spiders as I sipped my morning coffee because only a raging workaholic could be scared of taking some much-needed time off. This realization (courtesy of yogurt in a tube...) got me thinking about past colleagues who always seemed to drop in to the office on their days off. "Dropping in" could last anywhere from minutes to hours.

Shouldn't these co-workers be somewhere else, doing something fun? Why are they just sitting there, yammering on about next week's project as they spin around in their office chair? Don't they have anything better to do on their day off? Apparently not.


These questions might cross our minds as we watch this co-worker wander around the office and tell anyone who will listen how it's their day off. But how can we miss them if they never leave?

As colleagues, we can have one of two reactions to this employee. On the one hand, we might begin to feel a self-imposed, subtle pressure to drop by on our days off, too. So-and-so always shows up and we've noticed that the boss seems to dig this co-worker's extra sense of "dedication," if you know what I mean.

On the other hand, we might tell ourselves there's no way in hell we're coming within five miles of the office on our days off! We've earned the change of scenery, and nobody is going to guilt trip us into trekking to the office unless it's an all-hands-on-deck emergency.

Why This Co-worker Can't Stay Away From Work
You know where you stand on this workplace issue, but we still need to discuss why this colleague can't seem to stay away from the office on their days off!

For starters, this colleague might think they're earning brownie points for showing up when they're supposed to be off the clock. In their mind, always being there shows dedication! They might also be quietly fearful. After all, out of sight means out of mind, and they don't want the boss to forget about them or give a project to somebody else. Perhaps they lack hobbies, or the ability to relax and binge watch their favorite show.

The problem is, their presence can become a distraction unless they are actually there to work, which they probably are not going to do because it's their day off! No, they want to shoot the breeze, wander the hallways, and, you know, just hang out. Some who wander are, in fact, lost. Meanwhile, they're all talk while you're all action because you have work to do. So how do you tell this employee to leave and have some fun?

Well, you can always ask: "Hey, why are you here on your day off?" Of course, they may say how they "have something they needed to do for a few minutes" at work, and they've been here for at least one hour.

You can also tell them straight away that you're too busy working to talk right now. Maybe another time? You might also become a local event directory to redirect this employee in an out-of-office direction. Have they heard about the new art show at the local museum, the new coffee shop that opened yesterday just up the street, or the drop-in Zumba class at the fire station?

They ought to go check it out. In my experience, this co-worker can be a creative thinker as an employee but lacks a sense of creativity in planning their own down time. Their job, quite literally, is their life. It happens, and even more so in our competitive, 24/7/365 work culture. So help them out (and yourself out!) by suggesting fun stuff to do around town. It might get them to try it. Or not.

This post goes for working online, too. A co-worker keeps texting us about work stuff on their day off, and we wonder why they aren't enjoying their downtime. The lines have certainly blurred in the workplace between work and relaxation, and it can become a real problem. Ultimately, you'll need to kindly remind this co-worker that you are busy working, and how they should be relaxing somewhere else. Hint, hint.


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