Imagine a world in which we were judged by the result of our work, and not by the hours we put in. It’s often that many of us spend the last 30 minutes of our day doing little but wait for the clock to strike 5pm. Some are even forced to stay late or fear being seen as the slacker who leaves “right at five.” If you have ever worked helpdesk or any job that has its rush times and slow times, you know what I am talking about. What it comes down to is that most workplace models punish efficiency instead of rewarding it.
It seems many bosses still share the view of managers from the industrial era. Being on time, staying late, and even coming in on weekends come across as “dependable” and “hard-working” qualities. Now I’m not saying that people who come to work on time and work late aren’t hard working (I do both and like to think I am a good worker), but if I found a way to get my work done if half the time and go home early, I would hope that I would still be seen as a dependable employee. Sadly in most cases I would not be. I would be seen as a slacker who leaves early, never comes in on Saturdays, and comes in with Starbucks at 9am. But if the quality of my work is just as good as it was before, is there really an issue?
For certain companies, like ones that charge by the hour, they argue that it is an issue. If you help that customer quickly, they make less money. Again it begs the question, should we really be punishing efficiency, and now our customers?
The solution isn’t cut and dry. As an employee you can make sure you have everything done for the next week, and there is always someone out there in need of some help (if you are stuck in the office for a few extra hours anyway). Having a list of short and long term goals helps, and shows you are in control. Even have your bosses give input, so they can make adjustments as needed.
Hopefully someday soon companies will realize that our current jobs may not require the same hourly structure that our father’s and grandfather’s jobs did. It will take time to build trust with management before it is possible, but if you prove you can work effective and efficiently you may just be able to pull it off.