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I'm salaried and our corporate culture is fairly lax about when you work as long as you're in for your time. I've occasional had trouble getting to work, and I'm never sure if I should stay late or show up early the next day(s) to make up for it.

I'm a programmer/systems analyst, so at least some of my work can be done regardless of when I'm at work.

My boss usually leaves before I do (most of us leave before 5 o'clock), so I don't think staying after gives the same appearance as showing up early, but either way I get my work in. My time's not directly monitored in any way.

Should I show up early or stay late to make up for late appearances?

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We track our time using Harvest: Even if your time is not monitored from above, you should monitor your time expenses for your own purposes. If it ever comes to it, you can defend yourself using your timesheet. – Joel E Salas Apr 12 '12 at 19:25
I use ManicTime: for the same purpose. It will automatically track time for you based on criteria you provide. – Atif Apr 12 '12 at 20:04
My observations over many years is that you are much more likely to perceived as a striver if you come in early, as opposed to working past the time when most folks leave. No cite, just my personal observation. – Jim In Texas May 17 '12 at 2:38
@JimInTexas that's psychology. People in the morning tend to be drowsyer, and thus, when they see you are already there when they arrive, they naturally assume you have been there for a while. Likewise, they're more alert around 5, and thus they tend to figure you're just finishing something up before leaving. – acolyte Jul 11 '12 at 13:26
@JimG. I disagree, I'm in the same situation, and I always wondered the same, I think this could applied to every environment where your time is not strictly monitored. – user1544 Nov 19 '12 at 16:00

I think if you talk to your supervisor, and the people around you, they are the best source of information on how they measure and/or value the clock. Totally depends on your company culture.

In some places, when you're salary the concept of "late" has basically no meaning. So long as you show up for important meetings with co-workers and clients, you get things done, and you turn your work in when you say you will (because deadlines still definitely matter). Being in the office beyond this often has a very high networking and collaboration benefit to you, especially before and after "official" work hours, because that's when much of the networking happens, so I generally try to be around beyond just when most people are there at least a few days a week, but that's my personal approach.

Back to your question, some people who are salary still carry the concept that "work" is done between certain hours of the day. However, your workplace can also be the other way around, where deliverables and measurables are the only thing that matters, and when you're physically in your seat makes absolutely no difference. When I transitioned from being hourly to salary within the same job, it was very hard for me at first to shake the "I need to be here exactly between time X and time Y," because that's what I'd always known.

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I know it depends on the place, but I think even for a lax joint (and provided your work is getting done), it would still look bad if you are not available for contact during core hours. Especially, for ex: you decided to work at night and not during the day (without telling anybody) – Atif Apr 12 '12 at 20:08
Agreed. And if there's a shared sense of what those "core" hours are, then I think you've definitely got something. I think asking people if there are such shared concepts of time common with the group, and talking openly about where the limits are, you'll find some common ground. – jefflunt Apr 12 '12 at 20:45
On the other hand, you could just keep coming in and "make up the time" as you suggest. I don't think you can go wrong with this approach, I was just giving a different perspective, that maybe the clock/time doesn't actually exist in your situation. Won't know unless you ask. :) – jefflunt Apr 12 '12 at 20:45

I work in a similarly relaxed environment, where the basic rule is "Put in the time and get the work done". Sometimes this means 35 hour weeks, sometimes 50 hour weeks, and if you're in late you're pretty much on your honor to stay late and make up time (or take the work home).

If your work is getting done and meeting (or preferably exceeding) standards/expectations you're probably fine with whatever method you pick to get your time in. If you think there might be a question though you should pull your boss aside and ask.
At my last company I mentioned it during every performance review, something along the lines of "I know we're doing the flex time thing, and I think it's great. If you would prefer I were here on a specific schedule just let me know."

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  1. Have dependable hours. Often just having a set pattern is really helpful for the employer.

  2. Communicate that you value time. Both your and theirs. Stay late and it will stand out from your usual schedule (See 1 above), and make sure you mention "oh I'm making up for soem for x'. Or work at home and make sure you email or do whatever to show that you were active. Over time it will be noticed but it has to be consistent.

  3. Talk to your manager. Ask them what the right thing to do is. Explain your situation. Make reasonable requests if necessary and then go wit what your agree on and be true to your word and expect them to do the same.

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Besides depending on company culture, the answer certainly depends on your personality: If you often come late to work (measured against your normal time), there has to be a reason for it, and I would guess that this reason would make it difficult to make up for the lost time by getting in earlier some other day. Based on this assumption, it would probably be easier to just add the hours in the evening when you were late.

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  1. Get your work done. Do it well. All else is secondary.
  2. If you work for a "pointy-haired boss" (PHB) who cares about "butts in seats", make up that lost time when your PHB will notice so that his mental accounting will be correct.
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