?Now what should I do?? a reader laments. ?I?ve instituted many of your
productivity techniques, and now I?m getting out of the office on time. I
arrive before my boss does in the morning, so she doesn?t see how hard I
work when I start my day. Now that I?m leaving by 5:00, she thinks I?m
slacking. But I?m actually getting more work done than ever before!?
Though some companies understand the realities of time constraints due to
day care, most are still measuring employees the old-fashioned way?by the
clock. The truth is the more indispensable you are and the more you can
distinguish yourself, the more likely it is that you can gain some
flexibility. Here are some ideas on how you can draw attention to the work
you do in the morning hours:
1. Speak up. If you have a conflict that forces you to leave earlier than
most people each day, talk to your supervisor. Have an open conversation,
explaining how important it is for you to be productive and do a good job,
and why you must leave on time each day. Point out that you?re the first one
to arrive each day and how much you get done without people interrupting
you. One hour of uninterrupted work can equate to three hours with
2. Use email as proof of performance. Send an email to your boss about a
business issue as soon as you arrive at the office. The time displayed on
the message is proof you were working early. Similarly, email will also
document the late night or evening hours you worked yesterday from home.
3. Think inside the box. Drop completed work in her in-box by 8:00 a.m.
with a message and the time written on a sticky note.
4. Just say Joe. Start the office coffee pot before others show up. They
slyly ask your boss if she enjoyed the special Kona coffee you brewed. After
all, you are the first one in to the office each day, so you have to get the
5. Track your time. Use a time log consistently, so you can prove how
much you?re getting done in the early-morning hours. Track your
accomplishments as you go, so that you have good material for your
6. Become indispensable. Just because someone works longer hours than you
doesn?t mean that person is more productive. The truth is the more
indispensable you are, the more you can distinguish yourself, and the more
likely it is you can gain some flexibility and still move ahead.
7. Use metrics. Devise a way with your boss to measure your results and
value, not simply the number of hours you are at your desk. Explain how you
often work in the evenings at home after the kids are in bed, using your
Internet connection to check and respond to email. When you consistently
accomplish your performance objectives, your boss will care less about when
and how you get your work done.
8. Develop a reputation. Be the one people can always count on. No matter
what, leaving on time does not affect your ability to get your work done, on
time, every time.
9. Stay visible. Volunteer for special committees, especially those
involving other departments. Make it a point to talk about the value you add
to the committees you?re on, and the projects you?re doing. Soon, people
will look to you when new projects come down the pike.
10. Focus on outcome. Write out a list of the top ten responsibilities
you have and rank them in priority order. Have your boss do the same.
Compare the two lists. Are you working on activities and tasks that aren?t
valued by your boss? Are you spending too much time on tasks that don?t move
the company?s main agenda forward? If something has to drop off your plate,
make sure it?s something less important. Once you?re completely focused on
outcomes, face time is less important.
11. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Politely let chatty co-workers know
that you have a limited time to work today, since you must get out on time.
Show your manager how committed you are to your job by truly working hard
all day and not engaging in excessive socializing. When you demonstrate that
kind of clear-cut dedication to getting the job done, co-workers are less
likely to questions your productivity.
12. Use technology to your advantage. Clearly communicate, ?I leave at
5:00 p.m. every day to go pick up my child from daycare. However, that doesn
?t mean I?m out of touch. If you need me, my cell phone is on until 6:00 or
you can leave me a voicemail or email. Be willing to do what it takes to
stay on top of business that is conducted after you leave the office.
In the long run, the workplace will inevitably move away from the concept
of face time to a more flexible, results-oriented workplace. Until then, try
one of the tips above to beat the clock-watchers.
Make it a productive day! ?