I see this kind of phrase used pretty often. While it sounds nice on the surface, my impression is that there might be a more toxic hidden meaning here.

Should I interpret this as meaning "We expect you to work far more than your assigned hours every week"? This seems like a more realistic interpretation than "once you do your day's work, you can go bowling".

It seems to me that tracking "results" over "hours" might lead to situation where impossible demands are put on developers, and when any sort of complaint is raised, this "results over hours" mantra can be used as a catch-all defence.

  • 2
    We can't possibly answer this as the interpretation will depend on who is making the statement. If you're seeing the statement made by a specific entity (ie a company, as part of a job posting), why not just ask them to clarify? Obviously you'd need to use some tact versus the bowling example you gave here, but asking could lead to a good discussion about expectations and culture within that employer, versus a bunch of strangers here on the internet making up opinion-based theoretical answers.
    – dwizum
    May 9, 2018 at 17:47
  • This is to situational to really to be able on here May 9, 2018 at 20:32

4 Answers 4


It means one of two things.

  1. Get the job done and you'll be rewarded
  2. We will work you to death.

It has been my experience that #1 is far more common, as with my current employer. The best example I can give is when I worked for a previous employer, that was their attitude. We were given work for the day. When we were done, we could do anything we wanted for the rest of the day. I've known other places where they would let you leave early if done.

Others use metrics for promotion based on achievements and they could mean that. Some are wary of overtime because of costs while some German companies simply look down at overtime, even if unpaid, as you being inefficient.

I wouldn't consider it as a red flag. It often means "We reward good employees". If you can get some inside information from an employee there (past or present) you could dig for some more information on the culture.


Broadly speaking, there are two types of workplaces: those that care about results, and those that care about presenteeism. It really comes down to what kind of behavior the company rewards.

If you're in the US, you're probably going to have to work at least 40 hours a week at either kind of company, despite the culture. So sadly, no mid-day bowling.

But a results driven company would be more likely to reward the worker who completes all his deadlines and leaves every day at 5 pm over the guy who works late but doesn't accomplish much.

On the other hand, there really are companies that value presenteeism and don't seem to care how much actual work you get done.

I wouldn't be worried if a company bills itself as having a results-driven culture. It doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, and therefore it's not a red flag. In fact, they can be much better as presenteeism can be boring and demoralizing.


“We care more about results than hours worked” - is this code?

Clearly it depends on who said it.

When I said it (and I did), it meant that I wanted people to get the work done. If that meant they needed to stay a bit late, then that's what they should do. If that meant they could go home early and still get the work done, that was fine with me.

You want to cut out at mid-day to go bowling? Fine. You want to leave early on a Friday? Fine. You want to come in late to get your kids off to school? No problem. You arrange your day. Just arrange to get the work done.

I worked hard to make sure that my team wasn't overloaded. They typically worked 40 hours or a bit less.

Whenever I came to them and asked if they could put in a little extra, they knew that it wasn't permanent and that I wouldn't ask unless the conditions required it.

Some on my teams often worked more - because they were "in the zone" and wanted to keep working. Others on my team often worked less. Some worked faster, while others worked at a slower pace. As long as the work got done I was okay with either situation. I typically solicited input from each individual as we prepared our estimates, so there were no surprises as to what was expected on each side.

If my team was bored or looking for work or leaving very early every day, then that was a signal to me that I wasn't giving them enough work to do. Sometimes that was out of my control. But it usually meant that I wasn't doing a great job of scheduling or handing out assignments.

Similarly, if my team was working late every day or looking overworked, that was a signal to me that I was doing something wrong. Occasionally, that too was out of my control. But more often I wasn't pushing back on upper management hard enough, or I was doing something else wrong.

Personally, I liked to work hard. And I tended to hire folks who liked to work hard. But I always had some on my team who didn't like to work hard. If the team is large enough, that's usually fine - a good mix of talents and aspirations is healthy.

So while I can tell you what I meant by "care more about results than hours", only you can know what they meant when you heard it.


I would interpret it as follows: *the company is looking for results driven staff who are hard working, willing to put in additional hours if required. *They may be flexibile regarding working hours as they are focused on outputs which could mean that if you manage your time effectively, are productive and work smart, you may be able to achieve these outputs in a shorter time frame, which could apply to the usage of the words "we care more about results than hours worked".

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