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So I work 7.5 hours/day, from 08:00 till 16:00. My hours are flexible to an extent so I can start later and finish later, or have a longer lunch and finish later, etc.

I have a 1.5 hour commute to/from my workplace and stop off at the gym on my way home - and so, as you can probably imagine, I'm keen to get out and on my way at the end of the day. This means, I organise my workload in such a way that I can be logged off and leaving as soon as the clock strikes 16:00.

I get the feeling I'm giving off a "don't want to be here" vibe when I do this; when in reality, I bloomin' love my job.

Is this how it will come across to my colleagues and manager?

marked as duplicate by mcknz, gnat, Jim G., scaaahu, Dukeling Aug 18 '17 at 4:00

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    Reminds me a LOT of this question: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/97141/… – joedragons Aug 17 '17 at 22:02
  • I agree with @joedragons ... it also reminded me of workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/52951/… – DarkCygnus Aug 17 '17 at 22:04
  • Do others in your office take the train home? People who take the train, you can set your watch by when they leave the office. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 17 '17 at 22:04
  • Thanks all - those questions have opened up a wormhole full of very similar situations to my own. – Skeletron Aug 17 '17 at 22:08
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    It can give that impression, yes. That impression can also be largely offset with a simply offhand comment to you boss some time like, "Hey, Mr./Ms. Nice Boss. I want to make sure that I am not leaving a bad impression. Love working here and for you, but I do have a nasty commute so I try to exit promptly. Hope that does not give a contrary impression. I just like to be organized enough to be able to wrap up and scat promptly unless that creates problems." Preemptively addressing it often is a cure all for such notions. – dlb Aug 17 '17 at 23:11
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If you are leaving at the exact time each and every day, then that gives the impression that you are working to the clock and not working to the job. Obviously, your employer would prefer the latter. This impression is made stronger if you always turn up at the exact time each and every day.

If you are leaving exactly 8 hours (minus your 30 minute lunch) after you arrive, then the implication is that you spent some time arriving at your desk and preparing to work (starting your computer, grabbing a coffee) in the morning, and some more time in the afternoon shutting down and cleaning up your desk and things before leaving. This means it is perceived that you are not quite fulfilling your 7.5 hours work requirement.

Now, these impressions can be quite strong and generally are unaffected by the fact that you actually get your work done, or that nobody ever does 7.5 hours anyway because of toilet and coffee breaks.

The fact that you have a 1.5 hour commute and like to go the gym is almost completely irrelevant in your employer's and/or supervisor's view - everyone has to deal with a commute, and everyone has a life outside of work. In fact, some would argue that you should simply move closer to work (or get a job closer to home).

At the end of it all - you're not exactly doing anything wrong with what you're doing, and you're probably not going to be in trouble for it - but other workers who end up working 8 hours instead of 7.5 hours, and are less rigid in their timekeeping are going to be perceived as harder working, and more likely to be rewarded with raises, bonuses, and promotions, for the same output of work.

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    Arriving at your desk and preparing to work is work. So is shutting down and cleaning up your desk. About bonuses - eight hours work instead of 7,5 is 6.66% more time and should get paid 6.66% more. – gnasher729 Aug 18 '17 at 0:08
  • @gnasher729 - I'm talking about how behaviour is perceived - I don't necessarily agree with the perception (personally, I'm on the side of "work is getting done", and think being petty about 5 or 10 minutes at the start and end of day is missing the point). As for the 8 vs 7.5 hours - that's all well and good if you are paid by the hour, but most professionals are salaried, and are expected to work a 37.5 hour week as a minimum, not standard. Whether you agree with the perception or not, the guy seen to be working a 40-hour week is going to appear "more professional" by most employers. – HorusKol Aug 18 '17 at 0:20
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This would be the assumption by immature co-workers and managers that don't have any responsibilities outside the job, such as children to pick up, take home, and feed. In my own case, I was a single parent, and worked for other men who went as far as to assume that I had someone available at a moment's notice to step in for my responsibilities.

Whether or not you have children, a work-life balance should be non negotiable outside of bona fide emergencies. When emergencies start spilling over frequently into the things outside of work that energize and rejuvenate you, it's time to go.

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