Page 3 | To leave work at 5pm?

(141 Posts)
sunshineandrainbowz Thu 16-Jul-20 20:53:45

My work hours are 9-5 but it seems all my colleagues stay later than that (I come to work on a morning to emails sent at 8/9pm!) and it gets commented on a lot that I shoot out the door at 5pm.

I don't particularly enjoy my job but I do it well and everything is done by 5pm but I get snarky comments that I leave at 5 and don't stay longer. I don't care for overtime pay etc. and just want to get home. (I've been here a year and the comments have been consistent)

Am I coming across as unprofessonal/is it making it obvious I don't absolutely love my job? My boss has never called me up on it it's just side eye and comments from coworkers but it's making me uncomfortable blush

AIBU/rude? (I have anxiety so I'm probably overthinking this)

OP’s posts: |

FishyDuck is either a Walter Mitty-type fantasist or a complete lunatic. If her company exists, I’m glad I don’t work for it.

BackforGood Fri 17-Jul-20 00:34:35

There is an element of "it depends what your job is" and what the urgency of something not being finished is, and what the culture of your office is. So people will reply from their own experience and pov.

I work from home quite a bit (long before this pandemic) and I might well send some e-mails out late in the evening, but that could be on a day that I stopped for two hours in the afternoon when I managed to get a hairdressing appointment, or went to something I wanted to go to - be that a funeral or a dentist appointment or met someone for a walk or for lunch. Personally, I prefer to have a break when it suits me and work when it suits me up to a point (much of what I do needs to be done during the normal working hours but some, it doesn't matter), so the fact I might send an e-mail at 9 or 10 at night isn't me trying to show I'm 'working late', but just it happens to be convenient that week for me to do a couple of hours in the evening after my meal, to replace a couple of daytime hours I didn't work for whatever reason.

Sometimes, there are things that it is really important it gets done that day, and I don't mind staying on to do them, as my employers are comfortable with me not starting until later one day, or having a two hour lunch break another day. It's swings and roundabouts.
However, I couldn't do this during the days / years I had to collect dc from Childminders, it is obviously a LOT easier for people who aren't in that period of their lives.

DollyDally Fri 17-Jul-20 00:43:10

This so annoys me!

I used to work part time (so paid only for those hours) and still got those jokey comments! hmm

NotMyTimes Fri 17-Jul-20 01:16:53

I think it depends. If you're leaving about 5 once you've done what you've got to do that's more than 5.

If you drop something mid task because you won't stay 10 - 30 minutes over on a rare occasion not so ok. I think there's a lot to be said for finishing the task/section you're on so you're not literally coming into the middle of something the next day. By this I mean, for example, if you're in the middle of proof reading a stack of letters and have 2 left to do when 5 hits finish the two but if you have 15 finish the one you're on, definitely don't stop mid letter.

If you're 'shooting out the door at 5' that generally means you've actually stopped working before 5 in order to get your coat/bag, put your tea cup away and be ready to shoot at 5. That's also not ok. You should be working until 5 and then stopping and getting ready to leave once 5 hits/has gone. Same for starting at 9, are you actually starting work at 9 or consistently coming in at 9 and getting set up so you're starting 5-10 minutes later than you're actually contracted to.

Also depends on the nature of your job. If you have an immovable deadline, say it's end of January in tax or a lawyer due in court tomorrow, you stay and finish. But equally once said immovable deadline has passed you should expect some gratitude for it, possibly some more flexibility re lunch/leaving early the next day. Staying very late (more than 15 minutes) should be exceptional circumstances, not the regular.

Shmurf Fri 17-Jul-20 01:34:38

This is one of the things I don't miss about office work. I can leave on time no questions asked and any overtime is paid at 1.5x my hourly rate.

MiniCooperLover Fri 17-Jul-20 07:18:19

It's competitive lateness, it's pointless !!! I used to work in a law firm where the trainees would all do it but none of them were actually working, just trying to make it look like they were 😳


Energem Fri 17-Jul-20 07:27:48


I'm a senior manager and director of a company and I am certainly not impressed by staff who race for the exits at 5pm. We want staff with an excellent work ethic who are passionate about their jobs and excited to go that extra mile to support the company and their colleagues.

If you are finished with all your work for the day, you should be asking your managers and colleagues whether there is anything you can do to help them.

Are you absolutely sure that you're not making cups of tea during the working day or switching off your computer before 5? These behaviours are not acceptable at my place and you owe your employer significant amount of time if you've been exhibiting them!

You typify poor management who can't see that results matter most. You disincentivise efficient people who can do their job well and manage their own workload, in favour of the warmest seats.

SunflowerOwl Fri 17-Jul-20 07:48:25

Is anyone else thinking of the Inbetweeners Neil dropping the customers prawns all over the floor in Asda because its 5 and he finishes at 5? 🙈

Definitely not unreasonable. You're entitled to a work life balance! I've got a colleague that is always absolutely desperate to be the first one in and last one out (and let everyone know about it) and I think it's quite sad. We do similar jobs and while we have busy periods it doesn't require 11 hour days every day. Anyway when I start to pack up he always makes 'leaving early today?' comments even though I've done a full day and usually a bit more. Occasionally I get in before him if there's no traffic and I'm organised and he HATES it and will fall over himself to tell me how much he enjoyed his lie in (this is at 7am). Its hilarious.

You do you, OP, if you and your manager are happy that you're getting everything done then everyone else should keep their nose out!

Scout2016 Fri 17-Jul-20 07:50:44

Thanks everyone for the heads up on FishyDucy. Fettfrett didn't impress me either bringing an employee's personal circumstances in to slag them for not working overtime and then lording it that they would deny them a promotion opportunity for it. A team shouldn't feel resentful of the worker who doesn't do overtime to bail them out, they should be pissed off that the situation can't be managed without relying on overtime and goodwill of staff.

Workers who spin out their work so they can stay late to look good to management are crawlers. Managers who fall for this / value it are fools - there have been loads of trials which show that shorter working hours (for full time pay) lead to higher productivity.

SimonJT Fri 17-Jul-20 08:02:06

My contracted hours are 9-4:30 Monday to Thursday with a 40 minute break, my computer is logged on at exactly 9 when I’m in the office and its turned off at 4:30. I have a very senior professional.

I did once have someone demand for me to stay until 7 like everyone else (full timers should be leaving at 6). I said okay and gave him the address of my sons nursery and the password required for someone new to pick him up.

If a worker isn’t leaving on time there are two causes, their work load is too high and management are a failure, or the colleague isn’t efficient enough if most other colleagues are finished on time.

Fettfrett Fri 17-Jul-20 08:07:42


Thanks everyone for the heads up on FishyDucy. Fettfrett didn't impress me either bringing an employee's personal circumstances in to slag them for not working overtime and then lording it that they would deny them a promotion opportunity for it. A team shouldn't feel resentful of the worker who doesn't do overtime to bail them out, they should be pissed off that the situation can't be managed without relying on overtime and goodwill of staff.

I only bought her personal circumstances into it to show that it isn't a childcare commitment or something that means she has to leave at 5 on the dot, but I wasn't trying to impress you anyway.

Just to clarify, I said we're extremely busy AT THE MOMENT. A lot of companies have peaks and troughs and at the moment we are in a peak. I wouldnt expect them to do it day in and day out for months on end but for 3 weeks or so at a time a couple of times a year, yes I appreciate it when my team do a little more than their hours to get the job done. I am then flexible with them if they need to come in late or leave early at other times.

The team member who doesn't pull their weight has never done more than a minute longer then her hours in 2 years, leaving work unfinished on a daily basis that someone else then has to do before they can go home. If you read my first post I did say it was acceptable if you are leaving work for others.

And no, she won't be up for promotion for a parish because she is doing the bare minimum and showing absolutely no commitment to the job. The other members of my team are not forced into working overtime, they choose to because they want to do a good job.

slangofoillmochara Fri 17-Jul-20 08:09:16

I really hate this... my office is (was - we are all wfh now) full of martyrs. They actually make a point of letting you know they stayed until 6:30/7pm after starting at 8am.
The same people fuck around chatting and catching up at the coffee machine. The truth is they aren't working effectively. There is no way they are productive for 11/12 hours a day.

If I have a piece of work that needs finishing and it's coming up to home time, I'll stay on and do it.. but I organise my time and don't talk shite to colleagues all day about how hard I'm working so that it rarely happens.

Yanbu at all to finish at 5!

Fettfrett Fri 17-Jul-20 08:10:27

*acceptable if you aren't leaving work for others

problembottom Fri 17-Jul-20 08:12:00

I once worked with someone who had a specialist role within our team. She worked late every day and even weekends sometimes. My colleagues and I felt so sorry for her, she really played up to it too and made her role seem so hard. Until one of my friends covered her two week holiday and aced the job without working any extra hours. We discovered original colleague was crap at time management and generally not very good. Had no sympathy after that!

Abraid2 Fri 17-Jul-20 08:16:20


"We want staff with an excellent work ethic who are passionate about their jobs and excited to go that extra mile to support the company and their colleagues."

Translation: we want staff to work hours we don't pay them for so our productivity doesn't cost as much 🙄

Sounds like a job advert. Most people aren’t passionate about their work unless they’re doing something incredibly worthwhile, not just making someone else’s company money.

Do you make it clear and official that people can get their time back later FettFret, or have you just quietly allowed a culture of workers feeling like they can’t go home on time because you think it makes them more productive?

At my last office we regularly worked late hours due to the nature of the job, but management would insist that we took the time back either the next day or at the earliest convenient time. Which meant everyone did, and our time at work always had a value. People should never be expected to work for nothing.

itsgettingweird Fri 17-Jul-20 08:18:38

When you get comments about leaving at 5.

Come back with a comment offering to help your colleagues manage their time better so they can also complete their task within their paid hours.


OhWhyOhWhyOhWhyy Fri 17-Jul-20 08:19:31

No, I hate this expectation that seems to be rife in offices these days. What it actually translates to is the staff taking on the stress and consequences for poor management. If you have to stay hours after your contracted hours just to keep up then your company needs to look at hiring more people. Don't work yourself to death to let them off the hook of actually having to run a business properly.

My mother does this, she logs in hours before she is contracted to and leaves hours late, works through lunch and then comes home crying about how stressful it is. I've told her time and time again to go in at 8am like she's contracted to do, have a lunch break and leave at 4pm like she's contracted to do. So long as she's doing what she can during those hours, any complaints that come in are for management to deal with, they overwork people so that they don't have to fork out the cost of more staff. You won't get any praise for it, in fact I think people who do this are rather daft.

Imo I don't get paid enough to tear my hair out with stress and never have a decent home life balance. I work hard whilst I'm there but I leave on time and take my breaks as I'm entitled to. Work is not my life and I refuse to let it become it no matter how busy or how much work they have on. So long as I know I'm working as hard as I can whilst I'm there, the rest is not my problem to solve. That's why management are paid more than me imo!

OhWhyOhWhyOhWhyy Fri 17-Jul-20 08:21:35

And as per pp, unless you're in a real vocation, no one I know is passionate about their jobs and excited to go that extra mile to support the company and their colleagues

It's a mean to and end for most. I work hard in the office, I do my bit. But excited to go the extra mile...? Erm no. I'm far more excited to go home and see my family thank you.

I’m in a vocational profession and I still prefer my home life. All this clocking in and out hoping the manager is watching is a mug’s game. I show my value by being bloody good at my job and doing it very efficiently within the hours I’m paid to do it.

Milssofadoesntreallyfit Fri 17-Jul-20 08:25:44

YANBU I as an employer chase staff home when they are done with their shift, they have ample time to do the work to a good standard in their contracted hours.
There is no reason why they should be hanging round longer or starting earlier unless they are poorly managing their work load (which they would pulled for) or if they they were doing it to try and prove some kind of point (there are much better, productive ways to do this and again they would be told so).
Employees do need to be able to manage a work life balance and manage their work at work during allocated hours. What op describes in her work place should be discouraged and that comes from an employer who has needed help above and beyond their contracts and still managed to get the help most of the time from just being reasonable.

Milssofadoesntreallyfit Fri 17-Jul-20 08:36:34


I would not work in your environment, nor would I run mine like that.

We have employees who have excellent work ethics and have gone above and beyond for us, there productivity and the management of the place means that we get this from them and they very rarely in a position where they have to work past 5pm. In fact I cant remember when it last happened.
We have been in a position where people have really had to step up but again we have and they have worked productively and efficiently at it with in our usual working hours.
None of them finish their work and have nothing left to do as again this is poor management and an ineffective working practice.
Im not sure how you run your business but surely it could be managed more productively so what you describe shouldn't need to happen.

LockdownQ Fri 17-Jul-20 08:39:10

Of course YANBU but I think posters who say that those working overtime and straying late are seen as inefficient and thought of badly are kidding themselves.

No-one ever got passed over for a promotion for putting too many hours in. Inefficiency and inability to do the job shows itself in other ways and the people struggling are not the ones who then voluntarily stay that late.

OhWhyOhWhyOhWhyy Fri 17-Jul-20 08:40:04

To be honest I'm used to working in an office where our boss is the first out the door at 4:59 because he gives the keys to some of the other people there so he doesn't have to wait to lock up.

If the other key holders are off, he will often come around the office at 4:45 telling us all to leave quick quick quick so he can go grin

It's a much happier place to work than some of the stricter places I've been before. And you know what, the staff are much more motivated by the laid back, non micromanaging attitude.

I really think all this strict micro management we see these days has the opposite affect its intended to have with staff feeling unmotivated and hating being in the office.

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