Ajoy Kumar Singha

Recently I came across a good email which was forwarded to me by my colleague. It is about staying late at office, specially in IT organisations. I have seen, in my small career in IT industry, that lots of people stay back in office after normal office hours (9am to 6pm). Why do these people stay back in office after normal office hours?

I can list down some of the reasons:

1. 45 hours a week: Most of IT companies work 5 days a week. So you need to spend 9 hours a working day. People come late to office at 10am or beyond that. So to compensate 9 hours they have to stay back in office.
2. Personal Work: Lots of people indulge in personal work while in office. It is done better when most of the employees leave after 6pm. With no managers and colleagues around, it is fun to surf internet, chat over the office telephone keeping aside free coffees and Air conditioned rooms.
3. False Impression to Manager: Most of the managers think who stays back at office after office hours put extra effort to project. They misinterpret sitting late as working late. People leaving the office at late hours are considered as hardworking and dedicated.
4. And lots more..

So is it a good practice?

I don't think so. Let me tell you why.

1. Sitting late should not be confused with working late.
2. People who stay late do not know how to manage their work, finish work in time. If you cannot finish your work within normal office hours, you are a slow worker or your manager does not have good estimation skill.
3. People who come to office late are late risers. Late rising is not a good habit.
4. Flexi hour does not mean coming late to office and staying back without any reason. Flexi hour gives you flexibility to compensate missing hours when you have some urgent personal work in the office hours that you cannot avoid.
5. Staying late at office will cost your oraganisation with extra energy spent for office lighting. USA has Daylight Saving Time (US Energy Saving Act). They work one hour ahead during summer so that they can save energy. Give earth a chance !
6. I don't know how ethical it is to do personal work in office hours. When internet is so cheap, internet cafes are available at every corner of your locality, why do we need to spend so much time in checking gmail, orkut, yahoo and youtube in office and doing ALT+TAB when project manager is around? Oh yeh, I forgot to mention, internet cafes do not have firewalls and IT Administrator watching your browsing behavior.

I had a manager who used to come to office at 8am and leave office at 5.30pm. I have always appreciated this habit. This gives a lot of advantages. You come to office with no one around, less traffic in road, perform the important tasks quickly. If you find any problem there are plenty of time remaining within the day. Leave office early before the peak traffic rush hour. Go home quickly; spend time with your family. Watch your favourite TV programs.

So please complete your work within time. Don't make a habit of staying late unnecessarily. Once you do this and make it a habit, your manager will take it for granted and expect you to do this every time. And think when you get family life and leaving office early (on time) your manager will think that you are no longer dedicated as earlier. You are a looser then.

Vinit Nayar, President, HCL Technologies, says, "Big is not equal to Best." Let me say - "Sitting late is not equal to Working late. Working late is not hard working, it is hardly working." It is a myth just as Ram Setu.

OK, now you can throw on me flower pots, chairs, rotten eggs and chappals.
8 Responses
  1. Aditi Says:


    It depends---some do it for all the reasons u stated, but there can be benefits from sitting late also--- u can spend some time for ur personal development like studying, reading articles, exploring new areas.

    Some use it to stay in touch with frnds :)


  2. @Aditi,

    Thanks for the comment. If you have genuin reasons then staying late is beneficial. I tried to point to those persons who play TT during normal hours and habitually stay late just to show their managers that they are working 'hard'.

  3. Md. Salim Says:

    I completely agree with you Ajoy. However, there are other aspects of this issue. People who are playing TT at office hours normally they do not want to do anything and expect to enjoy on Company expenses and in the process making company bankrupt, lose contract resulting in closure of the organization. Then they start blaming organization for all this. They may win TT match but in life they are losers. Ajoy I feel they work in this manner looking at current IT boom but they forget this boom is only for those who work sincerely in present company because next employers can not afford their org. being closed.

  4. @Salim,

    "...they work in this manner looking at current IT boom but they forget this boom is only for those who work sincerely..."

    I completely agree with you on this.

  5. Pramod Says:

    @first reason
    according to flexi hours timing include 10 am to 7:30 pm also, those who stay after that may have these reasons:
    a) during lunch time they have habit to gosip with friend on stair for long time or missing lunch and taking maggi in canteen and enjoying FM in canteen.
    b) Secondly some people are roming here and their and helping in doing others work and at end of day they remember they are left with some important work. this happen because of poor tracking of their task or may be their working habit.
    c) But above all their are some people who stay late because they did not get enough time to study for their area of interest due to work load.

    I thing manager judge people on the basis of Output not on who staying late
    don't forget "Manager bhi tho Kabhi Team Member tha" so they know this things.

  6. @Pramod,

    ...manager judge people on the basis of Output...

    Of course, managers should judge people on the basis of output, within stipulated time. My idea was that we should discourage people sticking around their seats just for show, without any reason. Yes, managers were once team members. So they should not greet people, who leave on time after completing their tasks by, "Jaaldi jaa rahe ho?"

  7. Anonymous Says:

    i m experiencing the same problem.. i used b on time in office and finish my job soon within deadlines but when its time to leave my manager start working he roam here and there whole day but start work at eveng and and hence ask me to stay late( ultimately i end up spending 13 hrs daily in office) and he said:"u r young guy u shldnt think abt long hrs..." this is mentality of INDIAN managers...he wanted to show others that he is working hard by sitting late and also he come afternoon only....we have flexi working hrs..

  8. pankaj Says:

    Ajoy- Please do not comments as"It is a myth just as Ram Setu.
    " .For ur information Ram Setu is not an myth.

    These words may hurt feelings of lots of people...