I work at a large company in London as a software developer.

The company doesn't really have work hour expectations than the usual 9-5 and most developers tend to vary how they work.

Unfortunately I'm moving to a team where most developers work till late. There is no requirement from the application support point of view to do so but it seems this team's culture is to do this.

I am one of those that doesn't really like to work long hours and am more productive that way than staying at work for ages which eventually wears me out.

I feel that my options are:

  1. Work my short hours from day 1 and leave at 5ish as long as all my work is done. I am worried here my team will think that I am a slacker as they will see me head off earlier than them everyday.
  2. In the beginning work similar hours to my team but after a few months after I feel like I have contributed and am bringing value to the team then gradually reduce the hours I do to what I find acceptable for myself. My fear here is that once I've already started working late every day it will be difficult for me to go back to heading off at a decent time without my team feeling weird about it as opposed to if I did so from day 1.

What are the likely outcomes of these two choices? Are there any options I have overlooked?

EDIT: This I believe is not a duplicate of the one you posted as this is specifically to joining a new team and the right way to tackle this from the beginning whereas the linked one is asking for an existing team's manager expecting him/her to stay late. There is no expectation on my end other than everyone else in my team is doing it.

  • We can't make up your mind for you and you are best placed in deciding how your team will react. Do you have a question with a more practical answer?
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 6, 2016 at 17:40
  • 2
    Work whatever hours you want, and pay whatever consequences there are (if any) for bucking the team culture. Jun 6, 2016 at 18:41
  • Possible duplicate of Staying late for appearance? Jun 6, 2016 at 19:36
  • Get your work done on time. As long as you do that, the length of your day shouldn't matter. Even people who routinely work 9-5 occasionally have to stay later to finish something up. Stand up for yourself. If your colleagues ask why you aren't staying later, explain that you have finished or are on track to meet your deadline. Offering your assistance when you're ahead of schedule can make you seem more like a team player, even if you're not staying as late as others.
    – mcknz
    Jun 6, 2016 at 22:11

3 Answers 3


Work my short hours from day 1 and leave at 5ish as long as all my work is done. I am worried here my team will think that I am a slacker as they will see me head off earlier than them everyday.

If it's important to you to arrive around 9 and leave around 5, then do so.

You team may well observe that you are working fewer hours than their culture expects. And thus they may conclude that you are a "slacker".

But as long as you are getting your work done (assuming you have the kind of work that can be considered "done" each day), and are tackling your share of the overall work, then their opinions of you shouldn't hurt your standing with your boss.

In many shops, folks get to choose their hours based on their preferences, their lifestyle, etc. It sounds like your shop is that way. Choose for yourself and don't worry about how others choose.

You may wish to informally "check in" with the boss before you set your work hours pattern and ask what kind of schedule is expected. Alternatively, you set the pattern yourself and then have a conversation after a week or so and make sure that the hours you chose, and the pace you are setting are working out as you anticipate.

  • 3
    I respect your experience as a manager, however it would make more sense to me to check in with the supervisor/team lead before he establishes a schedule that might make him "look bad".
    – AndreiROM
    Jun 7, 2016 at 1:45

The best way to handle this is to talk to the supervisor of the team you are joining and ask if there is any particular reason why this team is working longer hours. My guess is, it is the supervisor's expectancy that you put insane hours, in which case, whichever route you chose, you will be a slacker if you will only work 8 hours long days.If you were happy with your working schedule at your previous position, why are you changing it, is my question to you, short of having substantially more money or closure of your old department, I do not see any upside to your positional move.


If you aren't the manager, you can't "enforce" anything. You can negotiate, or try to do so. You can be productive enough that people don't feel you're slacking. You can ignore the expectations and take the consequences. Or you can quit, or attempt to move into another group. But that's the limit of your options.

Start by talking to your manager and understanding the real requirements of this job. Then meet them. Or don't.