I make a small hourly wage at a technical part-time job at a California startup. My father recommended that I work 5 minutes before and after my timesheet begin and end times, respectively, so as to, I suppose, refute the appearance of cheating. Is this practice normative?

  • You should speak with your HR department about this
    – Donald
    Feb 28, 2015 at 21:40
  • 6
    It's about impressions. You don't want to be known as a "clock-watcher." If you work 1-5 pm, be sure you are WORKING at 1 pm, not clocking in, not setting up, but working. When 5 comes around, finish the task you are on, then shut down. Be working by 1 and start closing up at 5, and you won't be seen as a clock-watcher. Feb 28, 2015 at 21:45
  • 2
    The same rule could apply e.g. in a university class. Imagine the impression the lecturer has of you if you're there before the lecture begins and then actually wait until it's done before leaving.
    – Brandin
    Feb 28, 2015 at 21:52
  • How short are your shifts that you're at all worried about 10 minutes?
    – nhgrif
    Mar 1, 2015 at 1:32

2 Answers 2


This is very dependant on company culture (which may itself depend on the field and country you work in).

From my experience in IT (in France, but as far as I know this is the case in most country), people won't care or even notice a 5 minutes difference. Generally speaking the precise amount of time you spend at work isn't very important as long as you get the work done. It will however be very appreciated if you are - and most likely frowned upon if you aren't - willing to make extra effort when the workload is particularly important. That is, for example, just before a deadline.

Again, this is from my own experience. The best you can do is figure out how things work in your company, and act accordingly.

  • 2
    Maybe your answer is right but you need to consider OP asked specifically about hourly position/wage. In an hourly position is it still right to say "the precise amount of time you spend at work isn't very important"?? I mean if we're talking 5-10 minutes then that's one thing but if an hourly employee is 30 min late all the time but gets clocked the same as all the others who are on time then there'll be some issues.
    – Brandin
    Feb 28, 2015 at 21:54
  • My bad, I misunderstood the first words of OP's question (english isn't my mother tongue), and thought he just highlighted his salary is modest. Which may have been relevant because he would be less enclined to put in extra work
    – ero
    Feb 28, 2015 at 22:02

While I will be the greatest supporter of only working the time that you are being paid to I also operate on a similar rule in regards to a small buffer time, it's just a matter of professionalism.

You should be appearing 5 minute ( or so ) early to any job so there is never any question as to if you are actually in the office at the time you are supposed to be there .

Most of the time I will show up a few minutes early and go make a cup of coffee or have a smoke in a relaxed manner right out the front of the building . But the important thing is that when I am supposed to be working I am there and not rushing to travel in.

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