I often hear people compare time ‘spent’ in office with the productivity shown in that time. Higher the number of hours, greater the productivity.
However I disagree. I’ve a different idea of being productive. How you ask? Consider below cases and you’ll know:
An employee comes in say around 9.30 am to the office, spends a little time organizing the day and starts working say around 10.00 am. Works with a break or two in between,which includes lunch break and sits through and finishes all the tasks of the day by approximately 5.30 pm. Now the office hours are from 9.30 to 6.30 and over and above as required by the role. This employee has diligently worked through the day and has been able to finish his work in less than designated time and is ready to leave office at 5.30 pm , draws stares from colleagues and raised eyebrows from the upper rungs.
An employee comes in around 10.00 am in the office, spends a little time organizing the day and chit chatting with colleagues, works with a break or two in between,which includes lunch and tea, sits through and is still not able to finish the tasks for the day even at 6.30 pm. He puts in extra time and logs out only after finishing the work which is only at around 8.30 pm.While exiting from office, gets smiles from upper rungs and high fives from colleagues.
In both the above cases there are lot of ifs and buts attracted and I know I’ve taken two very generalized scenarios.
But frankly speaking, this ‘staying late and being called more productive’ syndrome irks me to no bounds. I’m all for staying late in the office when it is really required-project deadline, go live situations, bulk recruitment and customer demands. When the work is tight, one has to pull the socks up and not look at the clock at all. But when work is moderate and yet the employees leave office only after sitting late hours and ask others who leave on time as “taking half day?” gets my goat!
Points to ponder over ‘sitting late’ situations for all managers and HR personnel:
- The one who comes late in the morning, goes late-So what’s the big deal in going late? You checked in late,didn’t you?
- Even when the work is done for the day, employee loiter around in groups or stare blank at their screens just to complete the in-time out time cycle of the day-aren’t such employees wasting their time which they might as well spend with their family/friends and refresh themselves ? Also, they are wasting resources in the office!
- Staying late gives you an edge over others in appraisals-really? since when did the log out time become so important a parameter to measure the performance and good work? Think about it!
- We’re single hence we want to contribute more to the company since we don’t have anyone waiting at home-Exactly my point! Since there is no one waiting at home, such employees use office as their place to chill out, use the free Internet and pass the time as they like it!
Again, pardon me for generalizing the categories, but if you really think through, you’ll agree to me that the above mentioned points are often the facts of every organization!
Any given day, I’d prefer a team where in they are true to themselves, committed to their work and honest to me as their leader.
I personally never work by clock and I insist that none of my team member does that. You come in to the office on time / early and finish your work in the stipulated 8 hours or before and you log out, I’ll be more than glad. So be it that the log out time is not the ‘official’ log out time. But you have put in all your efforts to finish your tasks and that too efficiently, so I’ll be proud that I’ve an efficient team rather having a lousy later sitter team who is not only wasting resources but also wasting their personal time in office!
I also don’t mind if my team member for example has finished 6 important tasks out of 10 given to her and wanting a time out for half an hour,excluding lunch hour and tea time, before resuming work on the remaining 4 tasks. In this case I know my team member is not only efficient but also knows how to prioritize!
That said, there certainly lies a risk of employees working faster than others and claiming to finish the tasks way too early in the day and demand leaving! In such scenarios the manager needs to be ready with new engaging tasks for such energetic and fast employees! The manager then needs to know how to identify the capacity and capability of each team member and allot the tasks accordingly.
All I’m saying is it’s all about efficiency and choices. If one loves working late [and hence comes in late to the office], be it if the nature of tasks and the role permits. But then one shouldn’t crib when others go on time. Also, for managers who come pleading,to HR,advocating for their team members at the time of appraisals that their team member/s worked late nights most of the time in the year, then I would certainly want the manager to really check,why? Did the project/s really demand that? Because in my knowledge and logic only sitting late night doesn’t deserve any accolades, it has to be productivity too and where there is productivity there are results, which are measurable !