What boomer bosses get wrong about fixed start time in Software Development Organisations

What boomer bosses get wrong about fixed start time in Software Development Organisations

Punctuality is of the most prized character trait in the business world. In fact, amongst plenty of things such as Engineering, Germans are well known for their punctuality.

As an early bird, I like waking up early in the morning and get things done when my mind is completely fresh.

Moreover, if I have a meeting with someone, and he or she comes late, unless a given a valid reason, I consider this person does not value my time.


However, for many creative types of work particularly Software Development, always being punctual at a fixed time is irrelevant - even if it sounds good on paper.

The Premise

I can think of two reasons:

Nature of the person

Although you won’t hear it tick, your body has its own clock. The physical and mental changes it causes are called circadian rhythms. Most living things have them, including animals, plants, and even some germs.https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/find-circadian-rhythm

Not everyone has the same energy level throughout the day. Studies have shown that our energy levels are distinct. This is known as Circadian Rhythm. Some people, referred as Early Birds are most energetic in the morning, while others in the late afternoon or at night, known as Night Owls.

The latter for instance tend to work much later and therefore cannot wake up early enough to be punctual. This type of person thrives in working in different timezones for instance while early birds get things done in the morning.

The load of work

Now, on the other side, imagine having to deliver of a lot of work everyday which often takes eight or more hours. Or if you've been working slightly above your ending time because there is an urgent work to deliver (which is often the case in Software Development).

The next day you are expected to come to work exactly the same time. Nevertheless, you wake up in the morning, with a headache needing more rest.

Instead of forcing yourself to come to work early - through sheer willpower - you won't be in the correct state of mind to be productive. Like most programmers, your mind will wander around and your eyes on your favourite websites for time pass. As a result, hours will pass by until you finally start working with focus. Yet, you won't be a fraction more productive as you would have been resting in the morning despite spending much more time in the office.

In fact, I don't believe in having fix hours as this usually puts more pressure on the employee while not guaranteeing productivity. In our case, assume you come 2 hours later because your mind is tired from yesterday's work. Now if you still have to complete 8 hours of work, you will be more tired.

In fact, even if you arrive later, you can still finish at the same time or if you've outdone yourself for the day - irrespective of completing the task or not. You do your best for the day and it's done. This is one factor you can control.

Additionally, we do not live in a work bubble where there is only work in our life. We also need to cater for other parts of our lives, such as house, family and transportation.

For me the reasons I like coming early to work:

  1. My mind is still fresh in the morning so that I can tackle the most difficult tasks of the day
  2. I am productive as I have lots of willpower (throughout the day we all suffer from willpower depletion or fatigue)
  3. the office is empty, therefore easier for me to focus on getting actual work done (especially working in an open office)