This is a great topic to debate with old school leaders. Most of them will tell you that the employees who arrive early, who leave late or do both, are the real hard workers.
Peoples arrival or departure has nothing to do with their ability to work hard. It very rarely even touches on their work ethic, though at times it does reflect on this.
You cannot judge the time people arrive or depart whether it is good or bad. You need to really observe and identify the reason they are doing this.
Some of those who arrive to work early do so because their next commute choice would make them late, so there is no other choice. When they do arrive, only a few of them actually start working early. The rest will make a coffee, have breakfast etc.
Is that bad? No. It is their right not to start before the working day. Does that make them better or worse than anyone else? That is irrelevant and not comparable to be honest!
What about staying late to finish work?
We generally have between 6.5 to 9.5 hours in a working day. Is it really a cause to celebrate when someone needs to stay behind to finish work that they did not complete throughout the day? Or is it a trigger event that should make you question why they were not able to finish this during their allotted hours?
Do not get me wrong, there are times when this is great! A last minute deadline appearing, final event preparations, large projects with short time scales, inventory days etc… this is someone going above and beyond!
But to penalise the individual who left at five because they managed to get their work done due to good diary management, vs the praise you are giving to the individual who ended up staying behind because they took an extra hour out of their day to chat around the water cooler…that is failing to see the truth.
Of course, not all cases of people working late is due to them not having finished earlier tasks. Sometimes people want to work ahead of their diary, and that is fabulous.
There is nothing wrong with coming in early or leaving late. Just make sure you, as the leader, find out the root cause of these events before praising/condemning.
Written by Sahar Habib
Founder of Coach Wilson