Are You a Late Night Desk Jockey?

"I'll be a home a bit late tonight honey"

We have all uttered those words at some stage with the standard effect of creating a frustrated family and cold dinner when you get home. Staying late at the office is a necessary evil as deadlines loom or opportunity knocks, however when working extended hours becomes embedded into the way you work it can have serious consequences. Around one quarter of Australian workers report that work frequently interferes with their ability to engage in activities outside work, which means they suffer poor work life balance and all of the issues that come along with it. Making the effort to leave the office on time more often than not, offers a range of benefits beyond the obvious of avoiding cold spaghetti bolognese.

It Gives You Time To Do Other Things

It may seem obvious, but leaving work on time provides you the opportunity to engage in activities which you enjoy outside of work. For many this will be spending time with family and friends, anything which allows you to get clear your head and unwind. Long work hours combined with high work intensity are a known risk factor for poor health especially cardio vascular disease and other stress related illnesses. Finding a hobby or activity which you can share with a family member or friend can be a great way to reduce the risk of work related health issues will enjoying some social time.

It Gives Your Day Structure 

Having a clear idea of when your work day is going to end gives your time in the office some much needed structure which can assist greatly in improving productivity. Open ended work days are not good for productivity as the lack of a clear time frame inevitably leads to tasks taking longer than they should. The simple act of planning the time you will leave the office helps to give your whole day structure as you have subtle pressure of the clock guiding every task you set your mind to across the day.

It Sets An Expectation For Co-Workers

When you leave work “on-time” on a regular basis, it sets an expectation in the minds of your co-workers and clients about when they will be able to reach you. So long as you are productive during the day, most reasonable people will not have an issue with you having some personal time out of hours and will understand not beingable to make contact with you after you leave the office. Consistently expanding your work hours blurs the lines between work and home giving people the impression they can reach you anywhere anytime.

It’s Counterproductive

For many, long hours are a badge of honour, but the fact is that working long hours does not make you anymore productive. The truth is quite the opposite. Several studies have shown that you don’t get anymore done by working a 10 hour work day than you do in 8 hours. The same study determined that increasing a person’s work hours by 50% only results in approximately 20% more work being completed, not exactly a great return on your time investment.

Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that staying back at work is absolutely necessary from time to time. However there are some clear benefits to making the effort to get out of the office at a reasonable hour as regularly as possible and enjoy life on the outside.

What do you consider to be the most important reason for you leave the office on time?