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CNN report: Why it is OK to leave……

Updated on June 25, 2012

OK, I was just about to finish a different hub, but I read this article on CNN and thought I really would like to comment on this issue as well.

Being at work does not mean doing work

Thank you, klyaska for your opinion on this, I have to totally agree with your experiences and add my point of view. I need to agree 100 percent with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the article as whole. The COO mentions in an interview with Pete Cashmore that she is heading home at 5.30 pm to have dinner with her kids at 6 pm. It is not like she is ‘only’ working those eight standard hours, she is just taking the opportunity that our high tech world offers to work the rest of the time from home (during night hours).

One very important statement in this article is “….being at work is no longer necessary for doing work…”. For most (not all!) of the jobs, even at higher career levels, you can read your emails, make your phone calls, carry out your video conferences and finalize your decisions from almost anywhere. Especially in our globalized markets and different time zones it is often necessary anyway to schedule something in the middle of the night. You have to get up before 5 am on the West coast for a project meeting that starts at 8 am on the East Coast. And this is best case scenario - many times there are partners and in Asia and Europe you work with and last minute decisions to be adjusted to, resulting in weekend availability or middle of the night meetings. So you have to be more flexible anyway, unfortunately, most employers and sometimes some employees are not.

The vital issue is to get your job done, not to sit at your desk for a certain amount of time. Being physically at work does not mean you are actually doing your work. Of course, an employee can better be controlled at their desk, and not everybody wants that kind of autonomy, but likes/needs to be told exactly what to do. Some people do work more efficiently than others though, and their achievement should be a measure of their ability to perform more independently. Meaning if they put that extra initiative in there, they should be granted more flexibility - if they wish so.

This has not necessarily only to do with having kids or a family. Of course it is vital to spend time with your kids not only on the weekends, especially when they are at a younger age. For everybody though, there should just be a certain amount of balance between work and the rest of your life, for the sake of sanity and health. Having a more flexible schedule would definitely benefit that purpose especially when it comes to working long hours.

I know and experienced that being at a certain career level means more responsibility, longer hours and to not rest on your achievements. But that does not mean being in the office for those 8 standard hours plus those couple of hours standard overtime.

It would have helped tremendously in my case to make the core time more flexible, in order to cut precious time needed for commuting. A commute that takes one hour plus, if you leave your house when everybody needs to be at work at 8 am and when everybody has to bring their kids to school (which starts at around 8 am as well), can be cut to about 20 minutes. That would safe you almost 1.5 hours per day, which can be spent … doing useful work for your job.

Or, leaving at 5 pm when it is everybody’s end of the workday (considering you are not working long hours) could be avoided by leaving on day at 3 pm, next day at 7 pm. There are quite some jobs, where this hardly feasible, like administrative jobs, customer service jobs, jobs in the medical field, etc. This is all the more reason to reconsider it for those kinds of positions it does work for. Or, very simple, eliminate the mandatory lunch break. I would have loved to eat my sandwich while doing some computer work and in return leave on hour earlier or arrive one hour later.

In a nutshell:

More flexibility where feasible.

Mandatory office hours limited to 40 hours.

Long hours according to demand and the possibility to work from home.

If the type of job allows it, a staggered schedule or a 2 to 3 hour span for arrival and leaving.

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