Sympathy for Worker Over Colleagues' Annoying Habit: 'Block Their Numbers'

An unhappy employee is being urged to take action against their colleagues after they started receiving calls after work hours, much to their dismay.

Writing in a Mumsnet post shared under the handle didntyou, the disgruntled worker described an annoying situation that started when they shared their personal phone number with a line manager.

"A few years ago my line manager and I had to travel somewhere for a meeting," they wrote. "She gave me her phone number and I made the mistake of texting her from my own phone when I was on my way to meet her. I wouldn't class her as a friend, we are most definitely colleagues."

"Since then she occasionally sends me work related messages on WhatsApp, and has since shared my phone number without permission to another manager, who has phoned me at home about a work related incident."

Two men communicating on the phone.
These stock images show a man at work on a call and another exasperated man on the phone. An annoyed worker vented his anger online after repeatedly receiving calls about work on his personal phone. Moon Safari/stevanovicigor/Getty

The situation has left the worker far from happy. "I don't particularly like my job, and don't want to be reminded of work by seeing their profile pictures whilst scrolling through WhatsApp," they wrote.

It's a response that's all too familiar for the many other workers who are taking a stand against taking their work home with them. While in the past it was common for employees to work beyond their allotted hours, the "Great Resignation" of 2022 in which swathes of the workforce quit their jobs in search of better conditions is evidence of a shift in attitudes.

Working unpaid overtime appeared to be at the forefront of many of these workers' concerns with a 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center finding 39 percent of employees who quit during this period did so out of concern they were working too many hours."

Sending messages of this kind outside of working hours was deemed to be crossing a line for many on Mumsnet. One user, Dogsanddrums, urged the employee to "block their numbers and tell them you changed your number."

Another user, TennisWithDeborah wrote: "I think it's fine to say politely that you want to keep a boundary between work time and leisure time."

MrsDoylesDoily also urged the worker to take an honest approach. "Just tell them that you never intended for [your] number to be given out, and that you like to keep work and private life separate," they wrote.

Others, like Mumsnet user Overjean, felt there was really no need to take action, writing: "An occasional WhatsApp message and one phone call once...seems like a non issue to be honest."

That sentiment was echoed by Jessica Kriegel, Chief Scientist of Workplace Culture at Culture Partners who felt there was little wrong with communicating work concerns via a personal mobile.

"Cell phones have become a natural extension of us as people, And because we are bringing our whole self to work," she told Newsweek. "That means that we are including our cell phones in that."

Kriegel added: "I have a lot of friends who use their cell phones at work: my waiter friend gets texts from the chefs when food is up, my CEO friends text their teams, etc."

However, she could also see why some workers would be hesitant.

"Ideally employees would be able to create the same kind of boundaries that they do in their personal life as they do in the workplace, but it's up to them to do that," Kriegel said. "Open communication and psychological safety are necessary. So managers need to help create that."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

Have you had a workplace dilemma? Let us know via We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.