Working at a company that you love is great – there’s no doubt about that. You likely feel more engaged with your work, more passionate about the time spent at your desk, and generally more fulfilled concerning your career. Sometimes, though, regardless of how much you do or don’t like your job, it becomes too easy to habitually spend extra time in the office.
One might assume that if you work extra hours, on or off the clock, and like the work that you do, that it wouldn’t be burdensome. That’s probably true in some circumstances. It is important to remember, however, that burnout can happen even to the most enthusiastic employee and that a healthy work-life balance is crucial to mental health and job performance.
Although staying at your desk for 15, 30, or 60 minutes past your scheduled workday isn’t necessarily the worst thing that you can do in your career, there are certain benefits to leaving work on time, every day.
Productivity Becomes A More Meaningful Concept
When you have too many hours in the day free to get work completed, it’s easy to procrastinate, take too many breaks, and generally waste time in the hopes that you’ll have plenty of time to finish up…later. Unfortunately, that kind of mindset can lead to an awful lot of twiddling thumbs from 11:00am to 3:00pm and very few productive minutes in between. When you give yourself a schedule and a guaranteed time to be completed with your projects, you absolutely must be productive throughout your workday. There isn’t time to stay late and catch up on the work that you put off because you have now committed to doing something else at 5:00pm.
The Line Between Work Life And Your Life Becomes Less Blurred
Anyone who has worked from home knows that separating work and personal living becomes very difficult, considering much of the space that you spend your time working in is also the space that you spend your time relaxing and pursuing hobbies. The office can be similar for people who don’t promise themselves that they’ll get out of work on time. When you go to work to do nothing but work and interact professionally with those around you – within reason – then you know that once you leave then you have time to do things that you need and want to do, unrelated to work. If leaving work a bit late becomes the norm, you are more likely to run errands during office hours, let coworkers interfere with your projects more than is appropriate, and possibly kill time on social media when you’re bored.
It Counts For Bosses, Too
You don’t get to be a cherished and effective boss if you are consistently setting a bad example in the workplace. I’m not talking about stealing supplies or lying to clients, I’m talking about staying late frequently. When you do that, you make your employees feel like they should also be doing that and it generally sets an unhealthy precedent for work commitments. By leaving the office on time, you show that you care about life outside of work and give the impression that you care about your employees’ lives outside of work, too. Also, when you understand the importance of leaving on time, you’re more likely to respect your employees enough to give them fair warnings about late meetings, sudden assignments, and other tasks that could cause them to persistently stay past their expected working hours.
Let’s recap: You don’t want to be watching the clock because your job is terrible, but being concerned about your work-life balance is more than okay to start doing today, even if you love your job. After all, you don’t want to be taken advantage of because you’re so willing to hang around during dinnertime and you don’t want to spend your life unproductively, missing out on those special moments that you simply can’t get in the office.
If you’d like to read more about how to be productive at work, check out this article on the importance of meditation in the workforce.
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