Much like many of you, working late or even having to work on weekends is not uncommon, in fact I’ll be working late tonight as I type this (in the morning). Before parenthood working late was not altogether a bad experience.
It become a chore when you had to work late because of someone else’s incompetence or bad planning,
it become a chore when it had to be done too often. When you are a parent though working late has a more negative impact and upsets the routine more.
A deadline doesn’t respect your routine or your outside responsibilities, meeting deadlines are what we are paid for.
There are deadlines and there are deadlines,
- the first being that if you don’t meet it your job could be at risk
- the second being that if you don’t meet it your promotion may be at risk.
Does getting your work done early mean you’ll necessarily hit the deadline?
Not really, you could end up giving up your mornings or working late to achieve your overall personal target but the team’s deadline may still not be met, in that case you could still end up having to work late to bail out other team members. In the case of working in the creative arts industry, the client may not have a clear image of what they want, you may slavishly toil away evenings to present to your client for them to say that’s not what they’ve asked for or that they’ve changed their minds.
If everyone is doing their jobs properly, especially the planners, working late nights and weekends should be redundant.
Make sure that you also have a clear brief that you are working towards and get agreements and sign-offs early on from the various stakeholders. Always ask questions that you are unsure about, doesn’t matter how many questions you ask
It is infinitely better to ask than working lates/weekends unnecessarily towards the wrong goal.
Making up lost hours
I writing this part of the blog on the train home, it’s nearly ten o’clock, I worked till about quarter past nine tonight, the pizza was good, I got more work done in the evening when there was no one around except me and the art director. Certainly working in a quieter environment seems to be more productive, I got more done in these extra few hours than in the rest of the day.
This morning I spoke to one of the staff members and a school governor about not spending enough time with the kids during the work week and how my time with them is sporadic and unpredictable. The governor said the same was true of her husband, that he is away for most of the week and sometimes weeks on end.
The overtime – mornings or evenings?
It would be remiss in a blog post about working late not to mention the role of the extra money that you get paid. The blow of working late can be cushioned by the extra money that you make in overtime. This doesn’t apply to all and depends on the circumstances. When extra money is paid into overtime it can make a real positive impact into the monthly income,
but how much is that extra money costing you in time with you kids and is it worth it?
At different stages of life I’ve needed money and at other stages I’ve needed time. Right at the moment I need both, oddly enough, I don’t know if this is the same for all companies but if I was to come in early and work extra hours it would be viewed as coming in early rather than overtime, it’s something of a strange phenomena that working late carries more weight and kudos than coming in early does. Certainly if I do this I’d pre-arrange it with the producers to class my overtime as the morning hours.
The question that arises is whether working overtime in the mornings is more productive than the evenings and when do you generally spend better quality time with your kids? I think the danger with working overtime in the mornings is that it may be very difficult to leave on time when the rest of the team is working late.
people may not realise or even believe that you came in two hours early.
If you work in a dependency driven office someone in your team may need you there for them to complete their tasks. There is also always the dreaded six o’clock emergency meeting that could prevent you from going home on time, this rendering your early morning overtime redundant.