Down with Presenteeism!
Staying at the office until 9 p.m. doesn't make you a good worker.

I've been working 12 hour days (but no weekends) since Kick Point launched. I'm impressed at myself — I usually can't work that much for longer than a few days before I get grumpy and require a Civilization V marathon before I can be productive again.

This time it’s different. I suspect it’s partly due to excitement over the stuff we’re doing here and partly due to a healthy amount of scheduled downtime. Or at least work/downtime. Tonight, I’m writing this blog post from my couch, sitting next to my wife, while she watches The Avengers and I take long glances away from what I’m doing on my laptop.

I’m also travelling to Ontario on Monday, for a long overdue trip back to visit friends and family. And of course, a couple of my Ontario-based clients. The promise of the trip is my reward for working my butt off for the past few weeks. I’ll be working while I’m out there too, but less than I am now because there’s family and friends to visit, wines to be sampled, and gorgeous fall colours to be experienced. It’s almost like a real vacation, except without roaming data charges.

If you're sitting at your desk, during your regular work day, and you're not productive, why are you there?

I’m also of the opinion that people are much more productive with lots of downtime. I tease my team if they come in too early and tell them to go home if they stay too late. I don’t say anything if I happen to pop my head into their office and see them on Facebook (besides, considering what we do, it could be work-related). In my previous life working in software, presenteeism was always the expectation and it was ridiculous. Spend all day farting around on slashdot, then hang around until 7 or 8pm and look like you’re a big team player. No thanks. No one should work like that.

If you’re sitting at your desk, during your regular work day, and you’re not productive, why are you there? Change your scenery, change your task, question why you’re putting off the thing you need to do. And if it really isn’t coming together for you, take a walk. Go pick up your dry cleaning, run that errand you’ve been putting off. Don’t develop the habit that your work space is where you goof off.

  • Jen Salamandick

    I noticed that my productivity dropped way down around 4pm (especially If I didn’t have second lunch), so I started coming in earlier in the morning. Dana was shocked and has spent the better part of three weeks making fun of me for beating to her the office most days. Not today though, today I turned up 1.5 hours later than I normally try to, waved to her and shouted, “PRESENTEEISM!” She laughed, lucky me.

    When the person you work for makes you feel like your life is important and understands that sometimes a pipe bursts in the apartment above yours, it’s pretty damn easy to come to work everyday and be productive.

    Great post!

    Leave a reply
  • Kasia

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. 1000 times, yes. The “appearance” of hard work is valued more than actual productivity. This results in cranky, exhausted employees, low morale, and in companies losing talent.

    Leave a reply
  • Adam Patterson

    Great post!

    Its important for employers to understand that the 9-5 is broken.

    I work in an office that if your not in by 9:30 you miss coffee…

    We have a flexible schedule, take lunch when you want, take a coffee brake in the afternoon. No one is clock watching because we are honest.

    I might work a few long days and have a short day.

    I find most of the time that im so engaged in what im doing that by the time I get lunch its already 2:30

    On the same hand, because I like what I do, I think about work and solutions to problems while I am at home or on the weekend.

    Leave a reply
  • janelle

    …. and this is why you’re successful and pretty much the best boss ever.

    My boss is very much the same, which is why I love my job.

    Leave a reply

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *