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Working Extra Hours The Right Way

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We’ve all had days where we have to skip out a bit early from work, be it for a doctor’s appointment, dentist appointment, or even dance lessons. (Yes, I’m taking dance lessons, mainly because I don’t want my first dance at my wedding to look like we’re at the prom.) The problem with this is that you still need to put your eight hours in, so where are you going to get the hours from?

The easy solution is to take some time out of your PTO (Paid Time Off) bank. However, this is not a good option for everybody, as some people don’t get a lot of time off from work, and therefore they want to save it. Also, taking a few hours from your PTO bank here and there can really add up without you knowing it.

What is the solution then? Well, the only other way to account for these hours is to work extra hours in their stead. Working extra hours is not hard on the surface; however, the hard part is working them in such a way that:

  • Your boss approves of it.
  • Your extra time productivity equals your regular time productivity.
  • Your clients/co-workers are aware of your modified schedule.

Let’s take a look at each one of these points in detail.

Your boss approves of it.

This is obviously a huge one. If your boss doesn’t approve of your extra hours, then not only are you wasting your time working them, but you are pretty much working for free as well. Working an extra hour one day to account for your doctor’s appointment is probably not a big deal, and you may not even have to talk to your boss about it. However, if you are trying to make up for a larger chunk of time (say a full day), then you at least want to run by them your plan for making up those lost hours. It’s been my experience that most bosses are okay with a slightly modified work schedule as long as you still get the job done (in other words, keeping the other two topics we’re going to discuss in mind).

Your extra time productivity equals your regular time productivity.

This is the main problem that I’ve seen occur when people work extra hours. A lot of the time the productivity during the extra hours just doesn’t equal what would have been accomplished normally. In my opinion, the main reason that this happens is that people lose focus on doing work at a time when they would normally be doing something else. This is especially true if you are only working a couple of extra hours, as opposed to say half a day. The key thing to keep in mind here is that you are not working these hours just for the heck of it; you’re working them to get something accomplished. Just because you would normally be at home surfing the Internet at this time doesn’t mean that you should be surfing the Internet at work instead.

Your clients/co-workers are aware of your modified schedule.

I cannot stress the importance of this point enough: You need to MAKE SURE that your clients and co-workers are aware of your modified schedule. The worse thing that can happen in this scenario is that say a client, thinking that you are in work, leaves you a message about an urgent matter, and nobody gets back to him in time. The blame for this will fall squarely on you, whether you think it’s fair or not. You should try to make this new schedule as seamless as possible to those who depend on you. You’re not always going to be able to do this, but you need to try your best. With that being said, there is only so much you can do. If everybody is on the same page, and something like the above example happens, you can’t do anything about it. You still will probably catch some of the blame (at least from the person who left you the message), but you’ve done your best to mitigate the damage.

Working extra hours in lieu of taking time off is a very common practice in today’s workplace, and many people have a lot of success with it. The key is to make sure that you have all your bases covered before you do it.

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About Kevin

Busy dad with a great four year old daughter and a wonderful wife. To me, fitness is not just a "me" thing it's a family thing. I want stay fit for both myself and so that I'm the best dad and husband I can be. I started FitDads to help other dads like myself be and stay fit, for their whole family.