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So I know this question is already on here but with my circumstances I wanted to clarify.

I’m an intern at a company with a pretty laid back atmosphere. My manager is out of the office on my last day. In fact because my last day is a friday almost everyone I worked with is out of the office so I gave most of my in person goodbyes the day before. My project is completely done and transferred to the new owner (as my access is being deleted) so I have nothing to work on.

Is it okay if I leave early today? I tied up most of my loose ends over email because a lot of people just happened to not be there today.

Edit: I forgot to add that the office does flex hours so it's pretty common in general for people to leave earlier or come in later. Also my direct manager was pretty absent during my internship in general (and is currently out of office as well). The other one simply advised me to tie up loose ends through email the day before (as he's out of office today) so I wasn't sure where to go from there.

  • What is the motivation for leaving early? Especially, given that this is your last day - and surely the extra couple of hours are worth it, even against the slightest risk somebody will think worse of you (after assumable, an otherwise successful internship). – Bilkokuya Jul 26 at 15:48
  • There isn’t really any sort of higher up here today. Anyone I was reporting to is out of office today – isa Jul 26 at 15:48
  • And my motivation for leaving early would just be because I’d otherwise be sitting there twiddling my thumbs because I can’t even ask anyone what else I can do today – isa Jul 26 at 15:49
  • ... otherwise be sitting there twiddling my thumbs Why not invest this time in reading some useful article on your profession / work domain? Self-training is always a good trait. – Igor G Jul 26 at 17:48
  • You should have asked your boss before your last day – HorusKol Jul 27 at 0:34
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Is it okay if I leave early today? I tied up most of my loose ends over email because a lot of people just happened to not be there today.

It's most likely okay. If you are paid hourly, make sure you report only the hours you actually worked.

But if you want to leave the best possible lasting impression, leave at the normal time rather than cutting out early. This is what I would recommend that all interns do.

  • Would this still apply if there’s nobody in the office to leave an impression on? I did report less hours for today. I did not anticipate half the office would be working from home today however. – isa Jul 26 at 15:52
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Is it okay if I leave early today?

If you have said your goodbye's, and no one you work with is in the office, I would go ahead and leave. There is no harm in leaving early under those conditions, and it is your last day anyway.

It might be wise, as a courtesy, to let your manager know your heading out and that all your tasks have been handled.

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Here's my advice: write some emails/notes to your coworkers expressing how much you appreciated working with them. Go into some specific details about why. Try to shoot for brightening their day whenever they read it. Not only will it make them feel good, but you as well (and, from a cynical/selfish point of view, it'll let you leave on a really positive note.)

Why?

First up, leaving early's probably not the right play. Simply from a cost-reward perspective, you don't really get all that much out of leaving early one time. You could get a lot more out of making sure you leave on a good note. Just because the boss isn't there doesn't mean you can't do that - and don't place to much emphasis on the boss. Just because someone's not a manager now doesn't mean they won't be in 10 years. The person across the cubicle isle you impress now could be your manager 5 years down the line.

Plus, you're in the great spot of not having a specific work task you have to work on - so you can literally do anything you want that will help out around the office, make everyones' day better, and leave on a good note. Write some documentation from some process nobody's got around to doing. Leave personalized notes to your coworkers. Clean out the fridge that everyone's been avoiding. Go on a bagel/donut run. Whatever trips your fancy.

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You should never leave work early without express consent from your manager (in this case, your manager is whoever has been left in charge of you today while your normal manager is out of the office). They're paying you to be at work for X number of hours so you should be there for those hours unless other arrangements are made. What you do during those hours is also up to your manager.

In your case, you have completed all known assigned work. You should treat this the same way you would if you had done so and it wasn't your last day: ask your manager for more work. Because it is your last day, there's a decent chance you'll be allowed to go home early but there's also a chance that they have some other small tasks lined up for you. Either way, it's your manager's decision as to how you spend your last few hours with the company.

Will there be lasting consequences if you duck out early without asking? In this case, probably not. But the professional thing to do would be to get permission first.

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