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how ought to I deal with my downtime after I’m working from house? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

Within the Earlier than Instances (when a overwhelming majority of us went to a different location for work), once you arrived was the beginning of your day. Now with many individuals being hybrid, begin instances appear somewhat extra fluid and I’m questioning what the “proper/moral” strategy to function is. For reference, I’m a salaried worker for my firm, however I’m a contractor for the federal government. This implies my hours labored must be tracked rather more aggressively than a standard salaried individual (and why I’m having questions on this to start with). My job revolves round modifying, so it’s an ebb and movement of being SO BUSY after which not.

For instance, I work at home 4 days and go into an workplace 1 day per week. My begin time on WFH is 7:30 am after I lean over to my nightstand and test my work cellphone for emails, after which (relying on if I’ve emails or not) I’ll rise up or keep in mattress somewhat longer. On the times I’ve work ready for me, I’ll shortly begin my work day however on the times I don’t … I’ll keep in mattress till one thing is available in (which could possibly be a couple of minutes as much as an hour).

My boss and coworkers have by no means mentioned something about my begin instances or something so that is purely me questioning if what I’m doing is moral. You’ve written earlier than about being obtainable to do duties and technically talking I’m obtainable at 7:30 am. Simply typically … there’s nothing ready for me and I can sleep longer (or watch TV, or make elaborate breakfast, and many others). And on the times I am going into the workplace, I’m checking my work cellphone, then preparing, then checking my work cellphone and leaping within the automobile, then checking work cellphone and ready for the bus, and many others. So once more, I’m “ready” for work. (Though on days I’m going into the workplace, if I used to be given one thing to do RIGHT THIS SECOND I may not be capable of do it however I can reply and say I’ll get on it as soon as I arrive at work.)

I consider different persons are doing the identical factor I’m at my job, however I can’t precisely ask, “Hey, are you additionally sleeping in longer when there’s nothing to do?” I end my duties and I’ve been advised I do good work so I’m not apprehensive that I’m doing one thing incorrect, however having a piece cellular phone has made my clock-in/clock-out a lot more durable to pinpoint. I’m “obtainable” 40 hrs per week however some days if I didn’t roll away from bed till midday (not work from mattress — like actually laying in mattress not working), nobody would know since there wasn’t work for me to do. I don’t assume I’m working in unhealthy religion however possibly I would like a actuality test?

Personally, I believe that if you happen to’re getting all of your work carried out, can be found when wanted, and your employer is glad together with your work, what you’re doing is ok. While you’re within the workplace, it’s most unlikely that you just’re being productive each single minute — a lot of folks have jobs the place the work ebbs and flows all through the day (or all through the week, month, quarter, or 12 months) and through their slower instances spend that downtime chatting with coworkers, studying the information, and so forth. While you work at home, that very same downtime can really feel such as you’re by some means dishonest the system, nevertheless it’s probably not that completely different from downtime on the workplace — the distinction is simply that you just’re spending it in mattress somewhat than lingering within the workplace kitchen chatting to a colleague or related. It feels extra decadent (you’re at house! you’re in mattress! it’s extra stress-free!) however the sensible impact in your work is just about the identical.

That’s not the case in each scenario, after all. There are individuals who have extra downtime after they work at home as a result of they’re intentionally slacking and avoiding work, which isn’t okay. (I imply, it is likely to be okay inside a broader anti-capitalist ethical framework, nevertheless it’s not okay within the sense that you just’re violating an settlement you’ve made in trade for cash, probably inflicting your coworkers to have to select up your slack, and many others.) However that doesn’t sound such as you.

I do assume it’s value asking your self if there’s a chance value to what you’re doing — like possibly you’re getting all of the must-do’s accomplished however you may be spending that further time on extra optionally available stuff that might produce stronger leads to your work or place you higher in your profession. If it finally ends up that means that you just’re merely okay at your job when you may have been nice at it, do you care? Striving for nice somewhat than okay can have important long-term advantages like getting you more cash, higher tasks, higher jobs, and extra political clout, which all have a direct impression in your high quality of life (and can be utilized to make different folks’s lives higher too, for that matter). However, some folks go above and past and by no means get rewarded for it — or just aren’t within the trade-offs that might be required — so I’m extra hesitant than I was to push folks in that route. Both means, I’d say to get clear in your head on (a) whether or not there’s a chance value and (b) how a lot you care if there’s. (How a lot your supervisor could care in some unspecified time in the future can also be helpful to issue into your pondering.)




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