Go Home on Time

go home on time day 2014Today is Go Home on Time Day UK.  It really is – if you want proof, then here’s the link – http://gohomeontimeday.com/

This makes me a little bit sad.

Have we really got to the stage in our national working lives where employers need to be given a reminder like this, to encourage them to allow their employees to go home on time?

I’ve worked in an array of office environments, (as well as factories and shops as a student).  Over the years it does seem as though our working days are getting longer and longer.  Even when we’re not at work, technology allows our employers to contact us in the car, at home and even on holiday.

We are never, ever, out of the office – especially if we’re bringing the office home with us on our phones or laptops.  I’ve been out on a Saturday evening with friends, enjoying some wine and wind down time and someone’s phone has gone off – something urgent has come up at work that needs an email now.  I’ve had texts myself whilst on holiday “really sorry to disturb you Heena, but could you just do X/tell us Y/forward Z”.

If we’re so contactable when we’re not actually at our desks, what is stopping us from at least leaving on time, and enjoying a few hours with our partners, families, pets, to meditate, whatever, before we check our work emails at home?

I think (from what I see anyway) it’s almost become a badge of honour – who stays latest and longest wins!  I sometimes wonder what people are doing if they have to be at their desks for so many hours – are they faffing, dawdling, struggling or overloaded?  In each case, staying longer hours isn’t the answer.  But we’re measured on the time we put in, sometimes over and above the quality of that input.  Is that right?  Not in my book.  I’ve never wanted to win the ‘Longest Working Hours’ game.  In fact, I can say that I love losing that particular game.  I’d much rather have an effective eight hours at work, go home on time and then come back refreshed and ready the next day.  I’ve been in the minority at most offices I’ve worked at, sadly but unsurprisingly.  Not necessarily because people love being in the office, but I think because even those that want to go home on time feel like they’re being judged, so they stay behind in case leaving on time means they get left behind at work.

And that’s what makes me sad.

So let’s do something about it.  Let’s start changing this crazy notion – we can do it, one person and one day at a time, if we all decide to.  Let’s make it a badge of honour to be able to leave on time.  It may not be easy but it will definitely be worth it.  Let’s be the change we want to see, as Mahatma Gandhi famously said.  Let’s make the tide turn our way!


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