NEW DELHI: Every organisation has ‘office-hours’ — official as well as unofficial. Official office hours are what are publicly declared on the office board, at the reception and other publicly viewed places and in the official code of conduct. Unofficial hours are the actual office hours.
You talk to a few people working in various offices about this and almost a similar picture emerges — official hours are something like nine-to-six, 10-to-five and so on — unofficial hours are unpredictable. There is a deadline for coming — no deadline for going. Ask people why and you get a variety of answers. “I’ve too much work” or “I’m the only one who works and I’m overloaded” or “My boss stays late.”
Actually late sitters in most organisations can be categorised:
The sincere souls: These people stay late because they have unfinished work which needs to be completed. These are people who are sincere, however, because of a variety of reasons ranging from unbalanced work distribution, indispensability due to domain knowledge and expertise, temporary staff crunch, et cetera, they have to put in extra hours.
The image builders: These people have carefully built a reputation of being hardworking, devoted and dedicated. They come to
office before others and are the last ones to leave. They are usually not found in their seats during the day. However, at about five, they can be seen neck deep in work. Anyone who asks, “Are you coming?” generally gets the answer, “I’ve so much to do. You go, I’ll take at least another hour.” However, the moment the last person has left, their table will be clear and they are on their way out.
The scared souls: These are people who are generally good in their work — they are sincere and fast workers and can normally finish on time. However, they are scared of the internal politics which happens after they leave.
So they stay back to make sure nothing is said or done against them behind their backs.
The suppressed souls: These are people who are in office simply because their boss has asked them to be there. They have no pending work, no urgent unfinished agenda. You often find them listening to music or surfing the net or forwarding chain mails. They are just
waiting for their boss to go so that they can also go home in peace.
The lonely souls: They are in office because they have nothing else to do or no other place to go! Either they have no family or are staying away from them. Generally they say, “There’s nothing to do at home. At least here I can sit and chat on the net or phone.”
So next time you see a person working late — or if you are a regular late sitter — just think of this. Every system in an organ-
isation is there for logic and a reason. If the concept of working hours is logical and prevalent, let us respect it.
(The author is a learning and development professional and the chief synergist of Kiai Peoplez Solutions at Delhi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)