Why don’t you leave office at 6PM?

Before I quit my job, I worked for two software companies for 4.5 years and I followed one rule throughout: reach and leave office on time.
Six ‘o clock and shut the lid of my laptop, pack my backs, pick my helmet and stroll away gently as most of my colleagues look at me in awe. Most would often say, “Tera sahi hai yaar, time pe nikal leta hai” (“Your life is set mate, you leave on time”). Some would even consider me gutsy.

Guts? Why guts?

I didn’t use to leave office because I had less work or I had lesser respect for the job.

If you’re spending more than 8 hours at your workplace and soak in the glory of being a busy workaholic ideal employee, then it’s time you come out of your whimsical ignorance.

Most people stay in office late due to two reasons:

  1. They are inefficient.
  2. They fear the status quo.

Let us quickly go through the whole process of how a few inept men spoil the whole work culture of an office:

Stage 1: The inception

One inefficient person is enough to get the loop started. And if that person is at a mid-managerial level where she has a bunch of subordinates, then the process speeds up. At the beginning the person(let’s name him Pranay) reaches office almost on time. (say 10:15 AM). Due to his inefficient work habits, he has to stretch beyond 6 PM. So, being a bachelor and no or less life outside his cubicle, he happily works till around 7:00 PM)

Stage 2: The loop

The next day, Pranay reaches office a bit later than usual(say, 11:10 AM so that he can proudly boast that he worked late the previous day) and leaves office at around 7:15PM). The loop starts off with a little delta and over the time, Pranay’s usual office reaching time becomes 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM. And he leaves by around 8:00 PM.

Stage 3: The herd

Obviously, Pranay schedules his meetings late and his subordinates starts to follow his time pattern. Most of the subordinates, being young and relatively new to the industry with less work experience, try not to upset their manager (Pranay) and some even try to impress him by leaving only after Pranay had left office. So on an average, the leaving hour of Pranay and his team stretches way beyond 6PM to around 9:00 – 9:15PM. Most of them don’t actually do any work of relevance & just warm their seats lest they might be tagged as an unmotivated, disinterested employee. (Appraisals are nearing)

Stage 4: The magic of compounding

The pattern soon compounds itself to encompass the whole team. This is mostly because most teams work together. At a point, there’s no one in office to appreciate your punctuality. So damn you, if you reached office at 10:00 AM; no one’s there to work with you, or notice you or appraise you for your punctuality.

But when you leave office on time, almost everyone would be there to judge you.

Stage 5: The status quo

So the normal working hours of the whole team soon becomes 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM and beyond. And the status quo is set. Anyone not following the pattern will be tagged as a rebel & disinterested worker. Congratulation, your work culture is now fucked up; all thanks to one inefficient employee.

I’ve heard stories where some great companies don’t let one black sheep spoil the whole herd. They shut down all operations on time.

If you’re spending more time than allocated for a task, then be sure that you’re doing it wrong. Or perhaps, you’re not the right person to do it. Period.

What is your opinion?

About Tonmoy Goswami

Founder, Storypick.
Read • Travel • Create • Experience⚡

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