It isn't unusual for some to finish their work well and early.

That poses a conundrum - should they take the remaining estimated time for themselves or should they take on more work lined up, sometimes for others?

Finishing up early can also be a problem if there is no more work immediately and give the impression that their position is not necessary.

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    ask your boss what you should do when you finish early then do that Jan 9, 2017 at 20:51
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    Possible Duplicate of several past "what should I do when I'm not sure what to do" questions...
    – keshlam
    Jan 9, 2017 at 22:32

3 Answers 3


Allowing people on your team to leave early when their core work is complete is problematic for a lot of reasons. This promotes speed over quality for example "It's a nice day, I'll rush and wrap this project up so I can go to the beach", reduces the likelihood of engagement in non-core work since any additional task like documentation or mentoring means they will have to stay later than they otherwise would, and discourages skill diversification as this would lead to a wider variety of tasks that could be assigned and therefor eat into early leave.

As an occasional reward it makes sense and doesn't hurt. As a general policy it can be poisonous.


This can be a sticky situation. If you are using some sort of system to track time versus tasks, usually a roll up will occur and its easy for a manager to see who the top producers are. Hopefully your company is doing so.

My general rule is if I am done an hour early or so, I will take that time to research something fun to me but work related -- like a new technology.

If I finish way early, then I will let my boss know and get the next task. Finishing ahead of schedule will almost always work in your favor.


When a report comes to me and says they finished early, I quiz them on what they have done. If it's too good to be true, it usually is.

  1. Did the report get their task straight? I want to make sure that they did not misunderstand their task.

  2. Did they execute the task on the basis of unwarranted, short-cut assumptions?

  3. What methodology did they use, and does this methodology makes sense? if they use a method that no one thought of and it is effective and efficient, I want the repo to write me about it and cc the rest of the team.

  4. Did they adequately QA their work?

Assuming that they passed my review with flying colors, I'll have them back up other members of my team who could use some assistance. Or do some self-study to prep for an upcoming project, do some documentation work, investigate a new technology, etc. There is always something to do.

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    So to avoid being quizzed one can assume safer to fudge and use the total estimated time.
    – user1220
    Jan 9, 2017 at 21:28
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    @user1220 - If you don't want to be challenged and have more responsibilities being put on your plate, that's a good way to go about it. I usually choose the other way. Jan 9, 2017 at 21:54
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    @user1220 - That's how I become promotable. By offering excellent value for the money, and by offering an implied promise that I will excel in the new position if offered it. If you want anything from your employer, you have to take the first step and give them something to work with. Management won't give you anything, unless they can see how giving it to you will benefit the firm. Jan 9, 2017 at 22:01
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    I understand your point of view, and I have to agree. Hopefully "promotable" becomes (or became) "promoted"!
    – user1220
    Jan 9, 2017 at 22:05
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    @user1220 - Hopefully - Past performance is no guarantee of future results :) Jan 9, 2017 at 22:06

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