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In my job I have a lot of small tasks all the time, and typically two or three larger ones at any given time. I'm also the go-to person for a number of things in my team, as I'm the one who understands them best. This leads to a lot of interruptions throughout much of the day, so I usually wait until some folks have started to leave before I even attempt to work on the bigger tasks - things where stopping and starting can massively increase the total time needed to complete them. (My schedule is 9-5, whereas most of the team is 7-3 or 8-4.)
As a result, I almost always wind up staying past my scheduled end time, since once I get focused on one of those more-involved tasks, I don't even notice the time until I either finish or reach some kind of halfway-decent stopping point, only then to discover that I ought to have left half an hour ago. As an hourly worker (and contracted through an agency, not a direct employee, in case it's relevant), overtime is not permitted (except when preapproved due to a specific business need), so I basically always wind up leaving early on Friday whenever I hit my hours.
On the first workday of the new year, my team was brought into a meeting where several changes were discussed to kind of "tighten up" our processes. Some of them were much needed, but on this one I'm really struggling. Management is now insistent that everyone needs to be sticking to their schedule and staying late should be the exception. I'm concerned because those end-of-the-day hours are really where I'm most productive - the idea of just stopping right in the middle of something, at the time when I'm at my peak performance, and then trying to pick it back up the next day amidst all the bustle, just seems inefficient and frustrating. And I'm not the only one - the two other people on the team who also have 9-5 as their normal hours would likewise often continue working until anywhere from 5:10-6:00 from time to time, for the same reason - being engaged in a task and wanting to complete it before leaving rather than stop partway through and then try to pick it back up the next afternoon.
How can I show my boss that it's in the best interest of the entire team for us to continue to operate the way we have been?
A few other notes for context:
- My position is similar to an administrative assistant, but with a greater focus on more technical skills (e.g. competency with MS Office including Visio, setting up online meetings, basic SharePoint services, etc.). My team is the pilot group for a new approach to centralizing the role - rather than assigning an individual to several projects throughout the department to handle all the needs of those project teams, the rest of the department has been asked to now send requests for each specific task to my team, and then whoever has availability (or is just really good at that particular task) will take it, greatly reducing the staffing needs for the position overall.
- My team's official hours (as advertised to the department) are 7-4; this is presented in the context of setting expectations on turnaround time, to discourage e.g. submitting at 3pm a request that needs to be completed by 9am the next day.
- The fact that my schedule is already later than most others is not at issue; the only concern appears to be that of my leaving earlier than scheduled on Friday. And I only leave early on Friday to avoid overtime - it's an effect, not the cause, of staying late during the week.
- This focus on specifically-scheduled hours appears to only be applied to my team; in the department in general, as long as you're reasonably reachable, and get your work done, nobody really cares what time anyone arrives or leaves. There are no time clocks to punch, everyone enters their own total hours for each day into the timekeeping system.
How this question is different from Our work-week policy changed drastically. It used to be a perk. How to let them know I'm unhappy?
- This question is not about a personal preference, but about productivity. It's not that I'm personally unhappy about the change, it's that I find the change to be counterproductive to the best interests of the team.
- Vacation time is not an element of this question. Most of the answers to the other question include the vacation time aspect of that question to such an extent that those answers don't translate to this question.
- In that question, it's a company-wide change, where in this one, it's a change to a single team, from being the same as everyone else in the company to following a different standard. My position is that there's a reason the company operates the way it does (stopping work in the middle of a task results in lost productivity), and this team should be no different.