Monday, August 10, 2015

Keeping the boss's hours

I noticed a trend over my career. People tend to show up in the office when the most senior member of the leadership team arrives in the morning & depart when s/he leaves in the evening. If you are the boss in your area, take notice. Come in a half hour later for a month and watch the team get in later. Come in an hour earlier the following month and watch the trend of the team change. How come this happens?

There are a few reasons: First, hours are generally loosely defined in the fashion industry. It depends on the company and the corporate culture, but because people tend to work longer hours, start and stop times seem to vary. People take their boss's comings and goings as the official office hours.

Secondly, if there is a culture of getting ahead, people want to get there before their boss. It's an old, but often effective method of letting the boss think you are the hardest worker in the office- get there in the morning before your boss and leave after s/he leaves. If your work isn't up to snuff it doesn't matter how long you are in the office, but it can be an effective method for getting recognized with some executives. Others may not notice at all and you could be wasting what could be time away from the office with your family or friends.

Finally, most days in the fashion industry are very hectic. If you need to get time with your boss, the only availability may be before or after regular meeting hours. Use caution on this one however. Your boss may be staying late or coming in early to get their own work down and not appreciate you popping in off hours.

So, what's the point? Come in early, stay late, or set your own schedule? Know what that executive cares about. Know what you care about. If your goal is to get ahead and you know the executive values someone who puts in the hours, then go for it. If you are getting your job done and your boss isn't watching the clock, set your own schedule. More importantly, if you are that executive, pay attention to the team and set expectations. You may be having an effect you don't realize.

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