Office hours where I work are 8am-5pm. That seems to be a perfectly normal arrangement. Most days I’m out of bed and ready to go by 5:30 A.M. Since I work from home my commute consists of a bleary eyed stumble to the office, a collapse into my chair and a fat-fingered multi-failure attempt at logging into a "too secure" network.
My first email of the day almost always hits the desk before 5:45… that’s A.M. My last email of the day happens sometime before 5:45 the next morning.
We’re a global company, truly global. That means that the office never sleeps. I can log in at any time, day or night and chat with someone who’s just having his first cup of coffee for the day. There’s always something going on, always something left to do. I can work at 11PM or at 11AM and see the same level traffic over my desk.
A co-worker recently said to me, "You know you’re really hitting it hard when you pass that 60 hour mark"… I roared with laughter. I pass the 60 hour mark sometime around 1 P.M. on Wednesday. I can take two days off on any given week and still record more time than most people who drive into the office every day and I’m on salary so I don’t get paid for the overtime. Wednesday night I was up until 1 A.M. working. Last night I was up until just after midnight. Both days I was in the office before six the next day. Working with 4 or 5 hours sleep is normal for me but anything less than that can be brutal and definitely affects my performance. Sometimes I just have to shutdown around 7PM and sleep until the next morning. Sometimes I can find the time.
The best benefit of working from home is that I get to see my wife any time I want. I can be on a stressful conference call and take a second to peak around the corner to see her peacefully reading a book or watching birds out the front window. Just seeing her can reduce the stress levels by orders of magnitude. Nice. Some peoples wives have the opposite effect… too bad for them. 🙂
My performance at work has always been rated high. Usually at the top of the curve or so very near the top as to not matter. I’m good at what I do and I don’t mind doing it at silly hours. My office phone gets routed to a portable phone that I usually carry with me around the house. If that phone rings, I answer it. I know people that work from home that won’t answer the "office phone" after six in the evening. I can’t do that. All of my international co-workers know that if they ring my phone I’ll answer it. Most of them are VERY careful not to ring it at odd hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a "type-a" personality and I don’t want to be. If the house doesn’t get cleaned, phhtt whatever. If friends come over with kids and things get rearranged on the book shelves… well, maybe it’s better that way anyway. If I haven’t had time to put the final touches on the porch that I built earlier this year… well, it’s safe and it looks mostly good, that’s good enough for now. I don’t mind calling in "missing" for a day and going hunting instead of going to work. At the end of the week I’ll still have more hours worked than most others so no harm, no foul. I just have a need to accomplish things. To make life easier for at least one other person every day.
It comes, I think, from a deeply ingrained work ethic that was beat into me as a child. My Grandfather worked from daylight to dark until he retired; Daylight Savings Time be damned. God set the hours on the clock that he watched. He did it because that was the only way to feed his family. I do it because that’s the way I learned to work. That and I’m always afraid that people are going to figure out that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing so I work extra hard to keep them from figuring it out.
I’m not the only one. We all know people who will pick up the slack. Greybeard makes note of it in this post and some of his commenters indicate people that are the same way. If you want to call in sick for the 231st time this year, no worries, we’ve got your back. Half of the office on Holiday over Thanksgiving? No big deal, we’ve got a guy that’ll work 15 days straight. Christmas? Same deal.
My brother hasn’t had a holiday… a single holiday… off in about 12 years. Not one Thanksgiving, Not one Christmas. Not one Veterans day… nothing. It’s understood and we work around it. He gets it from the same place that I do.
We appreciate the guy that’s signing the check and don’t mind going the extra mile to help him out.