Recently, I was Google searching and it caught my eyes a reference to the “National Leave the Office Early Day”, which is celebrated in the U.S. on June 2nd. It is about people who work more than forty hours a week. Truth is, most of us have been in the awkward situation to decide whether it is appropriate to leave at five. The problem becomes bigger when the boss stays behind until late hours.
During my early days in the telecom industry, I was supporting a demanding project which lasted more than a year. For months, I could not go home before nine at night. The question is: How can I leave the work on time, without causing any stressful atmosphere? Could I keep an eight-hour workday, without being finger-pointed?
To begin with, my relationship with the manager is the defining factor. In the past, I would start following him without consideration, trying to gain his approval. Actually I was copying his attitude believing that I was building some kind of intimacy. For instance, when he was demanding, putting a lot of pressure on his communication with others, it was more likely that I would be rigorous and short-tempered during my communication with my clients. The same thing was happening, when the manager extended his stay at work, even if it was unnecessary. In sub-communication level, he was forcing his subordinates to stay on track. He might have asked condescending questions like “Where are you going so early?” or “Who do you work for, the Public Sector?” Such manipulating behavior was common, which a lot of times made me dread leaving before him.
The first thing that I have stopped doing, is staying behind without any reason, or just in order to keep up appearances. On the other hand, I would not disappear without my supervisor’s approval. I clarify that I am interested in building trust and close collaboration with my team mates and the leader. Have I any indications that my supervisor feels distressed or annoyed, I will discuss it in a meeting. It is possible that he faces something similar in relation to the upper management. My intention is to offer him an alternative way of communication, an escape.
Given the role of a team leader, I make it clear that each team member is free to follow his daily schedule. Assuming that I need assistance in handling an emergency issue, I ask promptly for their contribution, even if it forces them to cancel their evening plans. As a subordinate, I make my boss aware that it is time to depart, asking for his permission delightfully. “I am done for today, is there anything else I can do for you?”
To summarize, let’s put some effort and hopefully, we will celebrate the “Global Never Left the Office Late Day”. It would be fascinating!