managers judge night owls, LinkedIn judges your popularity, and more

Over at Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I take a look at several big work-related stories in the news right now: a study showing that managers who allow flex time prefer early birds to night owls, LinkedIn’s new feature that ranks your profile by popularity, and more. You can read it here.

{ 125 comments… read them below }

  1. Ash (the other one!)*

    Eww to the flex time study. I am a night owl — perhaps its because I don’t have kids yet, but I just can’t fall asleep before 12. I get into work between 9:30 – 10 which is fine with my office but dreading being up earlier if and hopefully when I get a new job. Of course, I live in the suburbs of DC so it takes me 1:40 to get to work every morning. To think that my preferring to wait a bit so my commute isn’t doubled could be impacting my reputation. That is really frustrating.

    1. Cat*

      For whatever it’s worth, I feel like most D.C. folks are pretty accepting of later hours. I know it’s not universal, but my office is a ghost town before 9am (whereas when I worked in Phoenix, people were in by 7).

      1. KellyK*

        That matches up with my experience too. Most of my DC coworkers get in at 9 or 10 AM, while a lot of people in the southern MD office get in at 7:30 or 8.

        1. Bea W*

          A lot of people in my group arrive between 6:30 and 8 am. I’m unsure how many are true early birds as opposed to just parents. 7-3:30 are the typical mom (and the occasional dad) hours.

      2. Jess*

        I think some of that may be tied to time zones. I’ve noticed that business hour norms seem to be somewhat staggered, with 8 am start times in the midwest being treated the equivalent of 9 am start times in the east.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              I know a few people who start work at 6.30 or 7.00am, which is normally when I am setting up my coffee pot. This would explain why the canteen is already open for lunch from 11.15.

            2. LV*

              I work in the Canadian federal government and in 2 out of 3 departments I’ve worked for so far, it’s pretty common for people to come in early. Most of the people in my team do 7-3/7:30-3:30, etc. instead of the typical 9-5.

              Also, most (all? I haven’t been around long enough to know) departments offer a “compressed work week.” If your workweek is the typical 37.5 hours, you can put in an extra 50 minutes every day and this earns you a day off every other week (since after 9 days you’ve worked an extra 7.5 hours).

              My current position is the only one I’ve had so far where I had some flexibility over my hours. I went with 9-5 because I am definitely not a morning person – I was doing 8-4 and 8:30-4:30 before.

              1. KC*

                37.5 hour work week… that sounds like heaven. Sign me up for the Canadian Federal Government!

              2. Long time lurker!*

                I think a lot of people who work those hours do it in order to manage drop off/pick up of kids. My husband works 8-4 so he can do 4:30 after-school-program pickup, whereas I work from home and work from 7 til school drop off, take an hour to do drop off, then I can work the rest of the day without worrying about pickup.

              3. Diet Coke Addict*

                When I lived in Ottawa it was a major change to see that rush hour was 3-6pm, on account of the fed employees leaving work, as opposed to the 5-7pm that I had been accustomed to before. 3:30 was major traffic time!

            3. De (Germany)*

              I have coworkers that are in at 530. I arrive anywhere between 7 and 815, depending on how long getting out of bed took :-)

            4. Chinook*

              I am shocked by the thought that other cities don’t have early start times. When I am in at the office by 7:15 a.m., I am catching the last commuter bus from my suburb and am far from the first person in. On the plus side, we all start leaving after 3:30 pm (probably to miss the traffic).

            5. Neeta (RO)*

              Whenever I work from home, I try to log in at around 7am, just so I can finish earlier… but most of the time I’m basically in zombie mode until 8 am.

              Some people though, claim to be at their most productive early in the morning, because the office is so silent.

              1. Davey1983*

                I actually find it to be the opposite– I’m more productive in the late afternoon/early evening because the office empty and quite at that time.

                Most of my coworkers get in around 6 or 7 am and are gone by 3:30 pm, whereas I come in around 9:30 am and leave around 6 pm.

            6. Vicki*

              I did 7am in my last year at LastJob, but that was because I had stopped taking the train (75 minutes minimum each way, often 90) and started driving. If I left my house at 6:20 I was at work by 7am and could then leave between 3pm and 3:30 with a similar drive time. No traffic.

              Also, most people didn’t show up until 9 so, except for the days when the janitor vacuumed my area last* it was relatively quite for a couple of hours.

              * I tended to glare at her on those days. Seriously, they couldn’t vacuum at night??

          1. Amy B.*

            I work on the east coast and am also surprised when I read about people showing up to work after 9! Then again…I am a 6:30 AM kind of person.

          2. Anx*

            People commute regularly to NYC from hours away… it tends to start a little later.

        1. uses of enchantment*

          The industry matters too. I work at a company that operates 24/7, 7 days a week where most of the employees generally work 9 to 5 Mon – Friday. Some departments have day time and night time shifts that are split between weekdays and weekends

          I was paid hourly for many years. My work was results-oriented; I could not go over 40 hrs a week; and I could pick my own hours. To avoid morning traffic and afternoon traffic, I stuck with a 6/7 AM to 2/3 PM schedule and worked from home at night if needed.

          Now that I’m salaried and work for a different department, my hours are now 9 AM to 6 PM officially, but I still get in a bit earlier so I have some quiet time in the morning.

      3. Rat Racer*

        Same is true in the San Francisco tech industry where my Better Half works. Populated predominantly by 20-somethings, the office is a dead zone until 10 am, but many folks work regularly until 8 or 9 at night.

        This schedule doesn’t work well for us, since we have small children, but I know it frustrates my husband to no end that he gets into the office 2 hours before anyone else does, and then gets (or thinks he gets) the stink eye for leaving at 5:30. Another exception to the flex time rule, perhaps?

        And I wonder what this bodes for me, seeing as how I live in California but the majority of my co-workers are on the East Coast. I start my day at 5:30 am, but that’s hardly “Early” in New York. And I guess my last e-mails sent late at night EST aren’t winning me any brownie points either. Oh well…

        1. Aimee*

          I’m in CA with the majority of my coworkers on the East Coast too. I’m in a tech company (in SoCal) where you have a few customer service/operations people who come in as early as 6:30, but most of the tech/product/marketing people don’t start coming in until 9 or 10.

          Thankfully, we’ve all learned to work around the time difference. My boss tries not to schedule any meetings with me earlier than 9 or 10 am, and I try not to schedule anything with her or my other east coast coworkers after 2 pm. If we do need the occasional early or late conference call, we are ok doing it because it’s not a regular thing. And I can take the early calls from home if I need to.

    2. Cath in Canada*

      Our office asks that everyone’s here between 10 am and 3 pm, but people come in from 7 – 3, 10 – 6, and everything in between. I’m usually one of the last in at around 9:30 (earlier if I have a meeting), and I definitely feel ever so slightly judged, even though I’m usually the last non-manager here in the evening and my supervisor has assured me it’s OK.

      Every month I have 1 x 5:30 am, 1 x 6 am, and 1 x 7am teleconference. My night owl self finds this to be cruel and unusual punishment – I just can’t function that early! I typically try to schedule meetings in the morning, and do my best actual work from 2 – 6pm.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Oh, and also the roads are safer for cyclists, and transit is much less crowded, after 9. When I have to come in earlier it’s a much less pleasant commute!

      2. Bea W*

        When I have meetings that early, I take them from home whenever possible. 5:30? I’d be useless the rest of the day after that.

    3. Rat Racer*

      And Other Ash: my heart goes out to you because I used to do that DC commute every day (from Baltimore) and it was a nightmare! Especially in the summer when the Metro was flooded with tourists and the MARC train seemed to break down every. single. day.

    4. Stephanie*

      OldJob had offices in the DC area and the Detroit area. It was pretty much assumed that most of the DC folks got in between 9 and 10. I think a lot of it was because the DC folks had much longer commutes than the Detroit folks.

    5. Bea W*

      I don’t sleep well when I go to bed much before midnight and horribly if I go before 11 pm. Doesn’t matter what time I got up in the morning. If I get up too early my body is just out of whack. I’m chronically hungry. The days I have to be at work early I eat breakfast 3 times. I had a stint of several months where I had to get up an hour earlier during the winter and I just could not stop eating. I had to keep my cube well stocked. I’m not talking a little bit hungry either, but ravenous pain in my stomach hungry. I don’t adjust either. Doesn’t matter if I keep a regular schedule. I have to be really careful when I have a string of extra days off. I easily revert to staying up until 2 or 3 am and getting up around 10 or 11.

      Luckily my current boss keeps late hours. She’s often busy in meetings through late afternoon and it’s easier to touch base with folks late in the day. I’m most productive late so that works for me. We occasionally have late calls (after 8 pm) with JAPAC. I’m happy to fill in for her while my super buttcrack of dawn co-workers plead non-functionality after 8 pm. Yeah…that doesn’t go over well. I don’t get to say “I can’t make an early meeting because I can’t function at that time. It’s just a matter of “suck it up buttercup”.

      I do get the judge attitude or general cluelessness from early birds who assume the late walkers are on that schedule by choice and would easily be early birds if the just went to bed earlier. It doesn’t work that way.

      1. Rana*

        Tell me about it. I have a 7-month-old baby who doesn’t sleep through the night and who likes to get up around 6 or 7 in the morning (and sometimes 5!) and that means I have to get up too. You’d think that general exhaustion would make it easy for me to go to bed early, but nope. I end up staying up, increasingly spacey, until about 11 or so, when my body finally gives in and admits that, yeah, sleep would be a good idea.

    6. Eden*

      I love, love, love my new schedule: 8 to 4:30! All my other jobs were 8 to 6-or-later-maybe. I love being home by 5:15. It seems so luxurious to be home at least an hour before I’d have even left my previous job.

      I’m normally a night owl, so getting up at 6 is a little hard on me, but I so prefer getting home early that I hope against hope I am never asked to move my hours to a later slot.

  2. CanadianWriter*

    I turned off “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” which apparently means I will never know how popular I am. Devastated.

  3. Canadamber*

    Okay, maybe it’s just because I am a teenager still, but I am a total night owl. ALSO a morning person. My favourite hours are basically the ones in between midnight and 7 AM…

    1. Student*

      That’s called third shift, and it’s not generally what AAM is referring to.

      She is talking about managers that come in from, say, 6-9 AM who don’t like workers arriving at 9-10. There are not many offices that are so lenient with flex time that you’re allowed to skip the 10 AM – 2 PM work window entirely.

      This probably was not focused on shift workers at all – normally, shift workers also have shift management.

      1. Canadamber*

        Ohhh, okay! My dad’s a shift worker, so that’s kinda what I was thinking of, haha.

  4. Jess*

    That managers prefer early birds definitely doesn’t surprise me. There seems to be a stigma of laziness or “lateness” (as if you’re running behind schedule) attached to later start times that is hard to overcome, even if the late starter is in actuality always on time and working sufficient hours. I can’t even escape internal guilt from the sense that I “should” be in earlier, even though my start time is fully sanctioned.

    1. AdminAnon*

      Exactly. My office requires phone coverage between certain times and, since I serve as the backup for the receptionist, my schedule reflects that. 2-3 days a week, I am scheduled to work from 9:30-6, while the rest of the time I work 8-4:30. There is a very real stigma of laziness on my “late” days–I’ve even had co-workers make snarky comments about how it “must be nice.” And truthfully, it is–until I am stuck alone in the office for the last hour or so of the day! It seems like most people forget that part (especially since they are not around to witness it). My boss is a very definite morning person–she is usually up between 4:45-5 and in the office by 6:30 or 7.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, I often arrive between 8:00-8:15 to avoid an even longer commute and then either shorten my lunch or stay later. Everyone leaves at five (or earlier) and the empty, quiet floor can be kind of creepy.

    2. sunny-dee*

      Yeah, with my previous position, I worked crazy hours — I usually started around 9am, but I’d go until midnight. (I work from home, so that’s manageable.) Most of my team members did the same schedule.

      At my new position (same company, different department), everyone comes in around 7am, and then are gone-gone-gone by 4pm. It’s much more regimented, and it is taking a bit for me to adjust to it.

    3. Late Starter*

      I know how what you mean about the internal guilt, even though:
      -No one has ever said anything to me about what time I should be in the office
      -Several people much higher up on the food chain are also late starters
      -I have saved the day several times by being here after the early birds had gone home
      -My boss has told me how happy he is with me and how he wants me to be happy here so I will stay

      I still feel twinges of it from time to time.

    4. Jennifer*

      The ENTIRE WORLD prefers early birds to night owls in every single study that you will ever see.

      1. Ali*

        I work mostly second shift because I’m not a real morning person, but my one day shift starts at 10 a.m. and I go until 6, which is fine with me. I have a coworker who wakes up at 4:30 a.m. (by choice) and wants to sign it at 5 or 6, but our earliest shifts don’t start till 7. If he’s off our manager just has us start at 7.

        In my social media internship, the supervisor was sending us an e-mail at 3 a.m. this morning (last night?) and we have to have weekly team meetings at 6 a.m. But they seem like morning people there. That said, I took this job because they said there were no hours I had to be online doing my work and it was very much “you get out of it what you put in” type of job.

  5. Hummingbird*

    I’m a night owl for my own personal time. I prefer to work in the morning. I hate the feeling of waiting around all day to go to work. Sure it means I can errands done, but I don’t have them every day. If my manager ever judged me based on the survey, he’d be quickly told it’s not my choice.

    1. Kelly L.*

      This is me too! Plus I like my “fun” hours to fall when I’m in the best mood, which means from about 7-11pm.

  6. Student*

    #1 Seems more like the old advice: arrive before the boss does, leave after the boss does.

    It’s easier to arrive before a “night-owl” boss, but hard to leave after them. However, you can mitigate that by being available from home somewhat for several hours in the evening.

    It’s hard to arrive before an “early-bird” boss if you aren’t an early-bird, and you can’t mitigate it any by being available from home because you are probably asleep.

    The better advice might be to tell bosses who provide flex-time that they actually have to live up to their side of the deal. If you give flex time and penalize people for using it, then just set fixed hours so everyone knows what the expectations are. Don’t apply secret tests like this to your employees.

    1. Apple22Over7*

      “The better advice might be to tell bosses who provide flex-time that they actually have to live up to their side of the deal. If you give flex time and penalize people for using it, then just set fixed hours so everyone knows what the expectations are. Don’t apply secret tests like this to your employees.”

      My feeling is (and I haven’t read the study) that the managers aren’t consciously penalizing people for being night owls. It’s just an assumption, a perception that people have. And in my experience it’s not limited to managers – society in general tends to assume that morning people are more productive, better organised etc., than night-people, regardless of whether they actually are. It’s a subconscious bias most of us have had drummed into us by society – including night owls themselves.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        This is what I read too. Studies have also shown biases based on gender, race weight. This is really scary in a so-called meritocracy where people’s success supposedly comes about as the result of hard work. At first glance, pay-for-performance appears to be working because pay aligns with a person’s performance ranking. These studies show that the performance system is at fault.
        The only way to combat this is for HR to actually perform an analysis – something they rarely do. Compare the aggregate performance rating of the senior men against the senior women. If you have weight data, perform the aggregate performance rating of the heavy people against the thin people. Compare the aggregate performance ration of black men against white men. Only then will the patterns of systemic discrimination emerge.

        1. Mike C.*

          Exactly. The idea of hidden bias isn’t something new, so people should actually be looking for that on an ongoing basis, and dealing with it when it appears.

        2. Apollo Warbucks*

          But even after analysing the data correlation doesn’t prove causation, a woman in the team I work in is paid 30 – 40 % more than me , if you looked at our job specs and performance reviews you might see there was some bias in her favour in reality, she has much better soft skills than me, that are hard to measure but make her a better employer than me, not 40% better but still it accounts for a lot of the difference between our pay

          1. EngineerGirl*

            Which is why I said in the aggregate. Individual performance / pay varies, but it shouldn’t for a large group. So 100 men and 100 women should have the same average performance.

    2. Bill*

      While I agree with this in principle, I don’t think the study is referring to the flex time as being a test, but rather there being a subconscious bias in the mind of morning-person managers vs night-person managers. I think this might be an extension of the mirroring phenomenon, you are more likely to look favorably on staff whose schedule mirrors your own. These managers don’t intend, and likely don’t realize that they do bias against staff who arrive later, and the point of the study is to bring that fact to light so it can be dealt with.

      1. C Average*

        I wonder how much of it is bias and how much of it is related to the fact that when you’re in the office at the same time as your manager, your manager can see you working and has a better firsthand sense of your overall contribution. If you’re in the office on a totally different schedule from your manager, he or she may have a general impression that you’re not around much, regardless of your productivity.

        Not saying this is fair–just that it’s true.

    3. B.*

      I doubt that all managers who determine night owl workers to be lazier and less competent are doing so consciously and giving employees “secret tests.” For many reasonable morning bird managers, they probably rationally realize that all flex time is valid, but might have strongly ingrained biases that they aren’t even fully aware of. Even outside of work, the US culture is very much “early to bed, early to rise” centric; night owls are often unfairly seen as eccentric at best, worthless at worst. It can be hard to extract oneself from that cultural stigma, even with best intentions. (And, for the record, I’m a night owl who typically works from 10 AM – 8:30 PM, sometimes later…the joys of running your own business! But if I need to be up at 6 AM for a client call, I’ll be there with bells on…and extra coffee)

      And I generally agree with your first idea about “arrive before, leave after”—when it comes to junior level employees. Once you’re more senior, it’s often not a reasonable expectation and real flex time becomes a very common perk.

    4. JMegan*

      The better advice might be to tell bosses who provide flex-time that they actually have to live up to their side of the deal.

      I once worked for an organization that proudly proclaimed their flex time policy, which was that you could start any time between 7:00-9:00 am, and leave 8 hours later.

      However, there was a big BUT attached to this – because they were being so “flexible” with the early start, they were extremely rigid about the 9:00 start. You could start any time *before* then of course, but at 9:00:01 you were considered late. So there was lots of flexibility about an early start, but none at all about a later one.

      As a night owl, with children to drop at day care and a long commute by public transit, I would really have loved to have an official start time later than 9:00. Even 9:15 would have been helpful. I asked several times, but no dice – the answer was always “but we’re already being flexible, sorry you can’t accommodate that.” They wouldn’t let me take that extra fifteen minutes at lunch, or at the end of the day – it was 9:00 or nothing.

      1. doreen*

        The problem is that it never ends-no matter what time the flexibility ends , someone is going to want a little more. I’m sure you’d be fine with a 9:15 start but I’ve had jobs with flextime that allowed us to start anywhere between 7am and 10 am. People complained when 10:05 was considered late. At my current job, people in certain titles can work anywhere between 6am and 11pm- and even that’s not enough flexibility for some people.

        1. bridget*

          But that assumes that a hard cut off is necessary at all – that at some point, you need to say that 9:29 is perfectly fine but 9:30 makes you In Trouble.

          The better system, if the business is of the sort that can handle flexibility, is to say that you generally expect employees to be in the office and available during work hours and get their work done, and allow them to pin down the nitty gritty details. If someone’s schedule becomes a problem, or starts abusing the system, address the actual problem and figure out a way to solve it, rather than making up a hard deadline just because it’s easier that way than to have a sensible policy without a lot of per se rules (which will necessarily lead to silly results at the margins).

          1. doreen*

            I’m sure lots of jobs are suited to that kind of flexibility- but lots aren’t and real flextime isn’t actually a schedule. Flextime isn’t different people having different starting times- it’s the same person coming in at different times on different days without a preset schedule. Jobs that require coverage are going to require some sort of a hard deadline- and it’s not only reception jobs that require coverage. I know reception is always the example, but there are plenty of other jobs that require someone to be present at all times during business hours. For example (since I have college on the mind for some reason) if the financial aid office is supposed to be open from 8 am to 4 pm the flextime is going to have to be limited to the extent necessary to make sure that someone is there by 8 am and also to make sure that everyone doesn’t come in at 7am and leave at 3pm . Generally, how I’ve seen this done is that some people have flextime that allows them to arrive between 7-8am and then leave between 3-4pm while others arrive 8-9am and leave 4-5pm.

            Flexibility in making up the time at lunch or the end of the day isn’t always possible either. I’ve had more than one job where the building closed at a certain time and allowing Apollo to stay an extra 15 minutes would mean requiring Wakeen (who is responsible for locking up and setting the alarm) to stay the extra 15 minutes and letting people make up the 15 minutes at lunch would violate my state’s legal requirement to provide a 30 minute break for a shift of 6 hours or more.

    5. GrumpyBoss*

      Ugh… I once had a horrid boss who was into public flogging as a form of motivation. He would roll in whenever he felt like it, like 10-11. But he would stay late, well into the evening. Being a natural morning person, I was there 7ish every day, partly because I wanted to, partly because someone had to be there in the morning because the boss sure didn’t think it was necessary (in this job it was critical). Most of his directs adapted his hours. When I’d leave at 4, there was hell to pay. The boss would complain how I was hardly ever at work. It was unpleasant and a toxic environment.

      I don’t think this study included people like my crazy boss. Or any boss I have ever had. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been appreciated for coming in early.

  7. Ann O'Nemity*

    Working for a company that offers flexible scheduling but also rewards face time has been a bit of a challenge. My own boss is a night owl with a team of early birds, so we often feel pressure to stay late no matter how early we arrived. One co-worker even invented an imaginary car pool obligation so he could regularly leave on schedule. Sometimes I wish I had thought of that idea myself….

    1. Stephanie*

      If you’ve ever worked in an area with commuter trains, people bolt for those trains.

      “Nope, can’t do that! I’ll look at it tomorrow! Gotta catch the 5:10 VRE.”

  8. Apollo Warbucks*

    I’m so not a morning person. I’ve always thought that I’ve been judged unfairly for it, but on the rare occasions the team has been at work gone midnight I’ve still been productive and awake where as. My coworkers have been dead on their feet.

  9. Lillie Lane*

    I seem to be getting more profile views because of my switch to a “hotter” LinkedIn photo (still completely professional and appropriate, but better hair/makeup/more friendly). To be perfectly honest, my profile is completely bare bones and no one is making connections because of my content. It’s just because of the photo. So in my case, I feel that this new statistic is more like “hot or not”.

    1. Mike C.*

      I’m really, really tempted to put up the picture of a Victoria’s Secret model as my profile picture.

    2. dmk*

      I also feel like the comparison bit makes it pretty easy for people in your company to figure out who is looking for a new job. When the most popular profiles at your company are lower level admins (and not the rainmakers), it’s pretty clear they’re job hunting.

  10. Mike C.*

    I really, really hate that people who are offered the ability and means to work a flexible schedule are then punished for it. It just feels really dishonest to me.

    1. Jennifer*

      It’s ask vs. guess culture: you’re supposed to “know” that they don’t actually MEAN that’s okay to do.

  11. Adam*

    Night owls: I can be a bit of a night owl sometimes, but it’s pretty much impossible for me to really “sleep in”. If I make it to 7:00 am on the weekends I consider it a victory. But if I’m going to flex my time I’d much rather come in early and have a nice long afternoon then cut short that time. Working through closing shift at a bar pretty much killed any openness I have to working late.

    And I noticed the Linked In thing a few days ago and was confused. “Your ranking is down 19%” and I was all, “How do I get ranked 19% from nothing?”

    1. the gold digger*

      If I make it to 7:00 am on the weekends I consider it a victory

      For me to sleep past 7, it means the cats have decided to be quiet.

      That rarely happens.

      1. Adam*

        Your cats or the neighborhood’s? I have neither pets nor children, but I guess my DNA thinks I was supposed to be a farmer or something so the first hint of light, BAM! Time to get up!

        1. C Average*

          Same. I’m awake around 5 a.m. most days. I’ve never used an alarm clock. I’m at work most days no later than 6:30. It gives me a chance to touch base with Europe and Asia on the tail end of their workday, which is handy. But by 4 p.m. I’m circling the drain mentally. It’s extremely rare that I’m not out of here by 6 p.m.

        2. the gold digger*

          My cats, who start the night with us in our bedroom but are then moved to the basement at about 2 a.m. because they want to be awake and looking out the window and jumping on and off the dresser and chasing each other at dawn.

          And the darn birds. What is it with 4 a.m. singing?

        3. Windchime*

          Yeah, the “first light” thing is great this time of year. It’s getting light before 5 AM here in the great Northwest now, but when winter time comes, it’s pitch dark until well after 7 AM. I find it really, really hard to get up in the winter, and I usually come home right after work and put on my PJs in winter because….darkness.

          I love summer, though. Light from 4:30 AM till after 10 PM.

        4. Rana*

          I hear you. I’m mildly sensitive to light in that way, and my baby is even more so. I’ve got us both in rooms with blackout curtains for the summer, but even so, she’s often up at 5am, singing away to herself in her crib. Cute, but not great for sleeping in.

  12. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    I’d kill for some natural night owls. We have flexible hours from 6:30 am (popular demand, used to be 7AM) to 8PM and the challenge is getting people who will cover later hours without having to require it.

    Later, btw, is after 3PM.

    Customer facing jobs have assigned hours and that’s the way it is, although we schedule to preference whenever possible. The non-customer facing ones are the tug and pull. Everybody wants out by 3pm.

    1. Anx*

      I’d love that shift!

      I was devastated to have failed the personality test at my local grocery chain–I so badly wanted to work somewhere with late hours. I can do mornings, but I have to tell myself it’s ‘just for now’ to be an early riser.

    2. JMegan*

      I would do that shift! 10-6 is my natural best fit for an 8-hour workday – especially if I know I’m going to be alone after 3:00 with fewer interruptions!

    3. Bea W*

      Would totally work that shift. I usually have to force myself out of the office at 6 to avoid overworking myself since I have to be in at 9. Would gladly stay later in exchange for starting later.

  13. BB*

    My company doesn’t offer flexible time but the office runs on a later schedule because the president is a night owl. However, because of my particular job, I have to be here at 8am. I enjoy it more than being stuck here until 9pm but you should see some of the looks I get when I leave the office around 4-5. Most people have only been here half the day or less at that point and often tell me ‘oh you’re leaving already, you’re so lucky’. I also know people who come in at 4 and then leave after 5 hours and act like they put in a tough day because they’re leaving at 9pm. I think this just depends on your office culture a lot. Some places are just going to expect you to work sunup to sun down

    1. Elizabeth West*

      At my company, people’s hours vary. The receptionist has to be there 8-5, of course. But members of my team start working (at home mostly) at five to seven a.m. and end up leaving at three p.m. I don’t begrudge that; I have to be there at roughly the same hours as our customers, in case they need me for something. I’m a semi-night owl who doesn’t do mornings very well, and there is NO WAY I could keep on their schedule.

      Of course, our boss is on the east coast so she’s always an hour ahead. I’ll never get there before her unless I show up at dawn.

    2. Anonymous*

      This sounds closer to my office. In my office, so many people come in late and usually stay late so everyone is working 40+ hours, so it’s not about that. But the late comers ALWAYS make comments about those of us that leave at 5pm! The “Oh you’re so lucky you’re leaving already …” co-workers comments (to which I want to say, if you come in early, you too can leave at 5pm!) to comments from my bosses in my review “We notice most days you leave at 5pm …” Um, yes I do. Because I was here at 7am, which is a 9 hour day. Most of the people that get in at 9am in my office are staying “only” till 6pm, which equals an 8 hour day. Not to mention how much I work from home at night. I think maybe because I don’t have the “I need to pick up my kid from daycare by a certain time” excuse, it’s not valid for me to want to leave “early”, which is actually late for me.

      It’s like because my boss didn’t see me come in early, it didn’t happen? Being an early bird has not been the best at my job. It’s been pretty frustrating at times.

      1. Bea W*

        I actually get peer pressure to leave early even though people know I start at 9 and not 7 or 8, and they do it right about the time i’m starting to pick up my late afternoon steam. It’s really annoying. It’s especially bad on Fridays.

    3. Callie*

      My response would be “oh, you just got here a few hours ago, you’re so lucky.”

    4. Lynn Whitehat*

      I think a lot of people are just making (admittedly stupid) small talk, and they would be astonished to learn that anyone was taking it as a serious criticism of their work habits.

      I used to go to grad school part-time, and I had permission from my employer to flex my time as needed to attend class. One semester, I had a class from 8-9:30 am, so I was getting up at 6:30, but not arriving at the office until 10. I heard SO MANY comments in the hallway about “just rolling in at ten, ho ho ho, late night last night, ha ha ha”.

      Another semester, I had class from 5:30-7 pm, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I headed back to the office, someone who was leaving would say “you’re going the wrong way, haw haw haw!” But I never got one single serious comment about how I needed to be more available for colleagues overseas or anything like that. I think a lot of it is the weird compulsion a lot of people have to act “friendly” by saying something, anything, no matter how stupid, not that they really perceive you to be slacking.

      1. Eden*

        So true. I know many of my “did I really just say that?” moments have been blurted in this exact situation!

  14. Cath in Canada*

    The superstar thing is so true. The most striking example I know of comes via a friend used to work in a lab full of lazy, sloppy, messy people, who would never clean up their own messes, came in late, took long lunches, left early, and resisted all her attempts as lab manager to whip them into shape. They they hired a new postdoctoral researcher from overseas who’d come in early, be pleasant but not chatty, take a normal lunch break, clean up after himself and politely ask others to do the same, stay until the end of the day, etc. He started publishing papers faster than everyone else and in better journals, got his own funding, had way more travel opportunities than everyone else… and just like that, they all started emulating him. The entire group culture turned upside down in about six months. I’ve seen the same phenomenon, albeit on a less dramatic scale, in other teams too.

    1. AMG*

      I think this goes back to natural competition, not just the fact that other high performers want to work with the superstar. It’s similar to how golf scores across the entire sport improved after Tiger Woods’ arrival.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      I’ve seen it work the other way too. In a dysfunctional office they would be angry at him for making them look bad. Then the bullying and subtle sabotage would commence.

      That said, John Maxwell wrote about this in his principles of leadership books. I see two principles in place – a true superstar will raise the entire team up (encouragement, efficiency, enabling). The other principle is “what you are is what you will attract”. So being/having a superstar will attract more.

  15. Allison*

    I’m not a huge fan of getting up early, but I do anyway, because the early-in-early-out schedule means less traffic and a better chance of a good parking spot – I deal with street parking, which in the city can be absolutely terrible after a certain time in the evening, not to mention trying to parallel park when some grumpy jerk is waiting behind you can be nerve-wracking. Plus, leaving for work early means not having to worry about my car being towed for street cleaning.

    BUT ANYWAY, getting my hours in early works best for me, although even after working 8.5 hours I still feel guilty leaving while plenty of people are still plugging away. But my work is getting some great feedback, so I guess it all evens out.

    Besides, getting your work done early means more time for fun in the evening!

    1. Bea W*

      My city doesn’t work so good for this. Traffic starts sucking at about 3:30. I figured out the worst times to leave the house / work were 7-8:30 and 3:30-5:30. Roads were pretty busy already 6 and 6:30 am. I used to start my driving shift at 6:15 am and 2 pm (because waiting later to make my pm run was the kiss of death) . There was never not traffic.

      My street cleaning time is noon-4 pm. It used to be Fridays, and when we’d have early dismissal for a holiday weekend, it wasn’t worth it for me to get home before 4 pm so i’d stay at least until I was in the clear to park.

  16. Seal*

    I’ve always worked for places that allowed flexible hours to varying degrees, but most of my coworkers preferred to come in early/leave early; I was always the opposite. At one job in particular, my coming in late and staying late was always perceived by my coworkers as my getting away with something, despite the fact my supervisor had signed off on my schedule. Since I absolutely hated that job and almost everyone I worked with, coming in and staying late while most people did the opposite is the only thing that kept me same. I always found it interesting that those of us who came in later than most were vilified regardless of the quality of our work (my performance evaluations were always outstanding), while no one ever questioned anyone who left early.

  17. Betsy*

    The early bird/night owl thing surprises me a bit, because my experience is that the hours you work early in the day are valued less than the late hours. So someone who comes in at 7am but stays until 6 is seen as making less of a sacrifice than someone who came in at 9 but stayed until 7. I am an early bird by preference, but I regularly end up staying as late as my much later-arriving coworkers because something has come up and my end of day at 4pm is viewed as less legitimate than someone else’s 5pm end time

  18. Ellie H.*

    One interesting thing is that the majority of people are late as opposed to early types but the world is set up to be more convenient for early types and almost every society “values” early type behavior more (e.g. “early to bed and early to rise” proverbs). One suggestion for why this is the case is that politicians tend to be early types.
    (The book “Internal Time” by Till Roenneberg goes into this and a lot more fascinating areas of sleep and biological clock research.)

  19. Teacher Recruiter*

    Has anyone else noticed that there are now personal details on LinkedIn profiles, including your birthdate and marital status? Guess this goes back to Alison’s article about people using LinkedIn as a dating site. Gross.

    1. Jen RO*

      Or LI is trying to expand to other countries than the US. Not to be (too) snarky, but the norms are not the same everywhere. Birth date and marital status are *extremely* common here, they are fields on all the major job sites, etc.

  20. Stephanie*

    Night owls: I had a boss who worked like 5 am to 2 pm and then seemed really annoyed that she barely saw any of us.

  21. Sabrina*

    I would have thought that the flext time thing would have been oppisite. As in “Wow, you’re still here?” vs. “Leaving so soon?” even though both put in the same number of hours.

  22. Jennifer*

    The popularity contest thing is just squicking me out about LinkedIn even more. I don’t WANT to know that kind of thing, thank you very much.

    1. Blinx*

      I equate it to the “likes” you get when someone endorses your skills. I turned off that feature. Hopefully we’ll be able to turn off this next one.

  23. Anx*

    I hope I’m not too late. I’ve been thinking of sending in an email, but I have major anxiety regarding LinkedIn.

    I’m underemployed (perhaps unemployed) and I know that I need to have it, especially if HR isn’t using it’s application system. However, I really dislike having my real name up on a profile site. I have had worrisome and unpleasant experiences with an estranged family member tracking my profiles even when I thought they were set to be private. I post very little on ‘real life’ social media and tend to stick to social media accounts that focus on themes. So I have a pretty much abandoned LinkedIn.

    I know I’m doing myself a major disservice, but I can live with that. but if anyone asks in a professional setting why don’t I try LI or why I’m not on it or don’t use it, I don’t want to bring up personal issues.

    How do I handle this? My safety and security was my priority, but I don’t know if I can afford to prioritize that anymore.

      1. Teacher Recruiter*

        I think it would depend what industry you’re in. In education, many people aren’t on LinkedIn, so it’s not the greatest sourcing option for us. I use it to check out our candidates (and try to find people) but certainly don’t hold it against anyone if they don’t have one.

        I would highly doubt anyone would hold it against you if you didn’t have one. I think the biggest drawback would be potentially missing out on opportunities where recruiters do a lot of their sourcing through LinkedIn. But it sounds like you’ve made your peace with that.

    1. Nynaeve*

      I completely understand anxiety around social media. My reasons for it are different, but also (to me) legitimate. I do use LinkedIn, but don’t use Facebook, and I’ve gotten a LOT of flak for it. I know I’m missing out on certain things, but I’ve made my peace with it. I figure anyone who really cares to keep in touch with me will find a way, and vice versa.

      TBH, I don’t think you’re missing much by not having a LinkedIn. I basically just use it as a fancy online Rolodex. As long as you use your in-person network heavily during your job search and keep your resume full of good accomplishments, you should be fine.

      If anyone asks why you don’t have a LinkedIn, you can just use some kind of innocuous comment like, “I tried it and it just wasn’t for me,” “I’m not a huge fan of some of their new changes,” or “Oh, I never can keep that sort of thing up to date! I prefer to call/text/e-mail/iChat/Skype/send smoke signals/whatever.” I doubt it will even come up, though. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who uses it all that heavily, and certainly no one who would penalize you for not having one or try to pressure you into getting one. (Unlike Facebook.)

      Your safety and security should continue to be your priority. The payoff for having a LinkedIn does NOT outweigh the risk of a creepy stalker.

      1. Jom*

        Some of it isn’t safety related.

        I really don’t like the idea of people knowing whether or not I stalked their profiles. Plus, I have a very difficult time getting information that would actually be useful with an unpaid account.

      2. Anx*

        I personally don’t like FB and LinkedIn, too, because I can’t trust myself to keep abreast of their privacy policies. Also, I think it highlights one of my biggest shortcomings: I’m not a wide-net networker. I know it’s important to be more outgoing, and I’ve been working on that steadily, but LinkedIn just feels so completely inauthentic to me that it doesn’t work to my strengths.

        I like the option regarding not liking their changes. I think there’s some truth to that, too!

  24. Parfait*

    Ah, the unwritten rules of flextime. I got promoted from a position with fixed hours to one with flextime. So I promptly started rolling in after 9AM. Because why wouldn’t I? Instead of 8 to 5, 9 to 6 or 9:30 to 6:30. Well, it didn’t take long for my manager to tell me I actually would not be allowed to flex it that far. But if I had wanted to come in the equivalent amount earlier? That would’ve been fine. Sigh.

    1. Bea W*

      I encountered this at one job. It was perfectly fine for people to come in 2 hours before the 9 am official office opening time and leave at two hours early at 3:30, but coming in at 9:30 and leaving at 6 only 30 min off official time was not cool. We had people out on the west coast, and I was usually the only person they could reach in their afternoon time. 3:30 here is lunch time in CA.

  25. Blinx*

    Former night owl — made the switch to earlier bird. In my last job (salaried), I usually worked 9-6:30+. I liked the quite time when most people cleared out after 5.

    Now in my new job (hourly), I really like working 8-4:30 (my choice – we can flex around the 10-3 core). Most of my coworkers also work these hours. I LOVE getting home early! And since I’m hourly, it’s guilt-free, since all OT has to be approved before hand. Downside: I HAVE to go to bed earlier, or I’m useless the next day. I used to stay up and watch the Daily Show, and Letterman up to the Top 10 List. Now I can’t even watch shows starting at 10PM!!

    1. Editor*

      I have a friend who likes Craig Ferguson’s show. He tapes it and watches it over breakfast etc. Maybe you should start your day with the Daily Show!

  26. Matt*

    My experience with flex time is the opposite. I’m an early bird in an office culture of night owls. Nobody notices that I’m in the office quite early (because nobody is there who would see me), but everyone notices that I leave early, protest against late-afternoon meetings, am not reachable late in the afternoon, etc.

    I’m glad that my current office mate is an even earlier bird than me (so usually I’m the one who answers his phone and tells the caller that he’s already gone), but all the project managers (I’m a software developer) are night owls and just love to schedule late afternoon meetings that can well extend in the evenings, or just call with something “really urgent” late in the afternoon and complain that “you’re never reachable” … I hate it, but I still love the advantages of being an early bird – in the morning I have some productive hours to work without the phone ringing and emails coming in, and in the afternoon/evening I have time for my private life :)

    1. Betsy*

      Oh, the late afternoon meeting thing frustrates me to no end. My current job doesn’t do that, but my last one did all the time. Our core hours were 9-3. If I tried to schedule a 9AM meeting everyone grumbled, and I had to give at least 24 hours to ensure people didn’t just roll in at 9:45 and shrug a “whatever”, but people scheduled 3pm or 4pm meetings constantly, often with only 1-2 hours’ notice. And then those meetings would run late.

      Fun anecdote: Once, I scheduled a 9AM design meeting at noon the day before. I had three people who had to be there (including myself) and a number of optional attendees. One person rolled in at 10:30AM and proceeded to lecture me about how he’d been “excluded” from the design process.

      Although we were routinely reprimanded for being late for early morning meetings, it’s a very different kind of pressure from being pushed to stay later, since it’s not like your boss can say, “Look, we’re in a crunch time here; can you have come in 2 hours early today?” or “oh, no, we’re going to lose Seamus from the conference call in 10, let’s retroactively have started an hour ago.” There’s nothing you can do Right Now to add early bird hours, only night owl hours.

  27. Sage*

    I’ve worked nights (second shift) for 20 years. LOVE IT. About 18 months ago, my employer did a mass layoff accompanied by “Here’s your new job, with a nice pay cut, and DAY HOURS. Like it or leave. ” I still cannot adjust. Very early in my working life, I had to work a day shift and I felt half-dead most of the time due to lack of sleep. I just can’t sleep when I know I have to get up at a certain time. I feel like I’m sleeping with one eye open all night long. Prescription sleep meds (all of them I’ve tried) don’t work. Natural treatments don’t work. Better sleep hygiene doesn’t work. I get maybe 3.5 hours of sleep a night. I know my co-workers give me side-eye for coming in late… every one of them is a major early bird. So is my manager. What’s so utterly frustrating (beside the lack of good-paying night jobs in general) is the perception of laziness, can’t-get-it-together-to-get-to-work-on-time perception, you’re not dedicated to the business, etc. The truth is, there’s no real reason that I need to be there at the ass-crack of dawn… it’s just the way the Team O’Larks has always worked. Guess who inevitably gets stuck with the last – minute requests, fanny-on-fire pseudo-emergencies, and general cleanup of all the work that didn’t get done during the day? Yep, that would be me. Recognition for it? Nah. Those Daywalkers are out the door 0.2 seconds after their shift ends. And they still look at me like somebody’s poor relation. I’ve asked if I could work a later shift, work on the weekend – which I have no problem doing – and the look of horror that I get just reinforces my opinion that management cannot wrap their heads around the concept that people actually PREFER a night shift.

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