The perks of getting to the office early

I work in an office that has flexible hours, so we have comings and goings at a wide variety of times. Most people do your standard 9-5:30, but some stroll in just before lunch and stick around well into the evening.

Generally, I’m in by 8:30am, which might not seem early to you but in tech it means the parking lot’s fairly desolate when I roll on up. But it varies for me, too…some days I wake up and feel lousy, so I come in later. On those days, I’ll think I’m waaay behind, but then I arrive at 9am and still get a good parking spot. Other days, I’m in at 7am, just itchin’ to blast through my to-do list. Those are the days I like the best…and I asked myself why: what are the perks of getting to the office early?

Off the top of my head, here are some of the reasons why I like getting into the office early:

  1. No interruptions, so I’m able to focus on the important things: When I get in early, and there’s no one else around, I can focus on the most important items on my list and blast through them. Then, even if the whole rest of the day goes down the drain, the day as a whole has still been productive.
  2. Quiet chats with my boss keep me informed: For the past few years, I’ve reported indirectly and directly to the CTO. He’s a busy guy; in high-demand, his days in the office are often booked solid and he’s frequently out of the office for extended periods to meet with our customers and other industry. But when we’re both in early, we can sit and chat for 30-45 minutes and get caught up. He’ll fill me in on the major take-aways from the latest customer meetings, and I can bounce ideas off him and communicate upwards. Alternatively, we can dive deeply into a single topic, usually one that I don’t completely understand and for which I’m seeking clarification. Plus, with no one else participating, the dialogue is natural and productive. I get way more out of these quiet chats than I ever would from a regular status meeting. Later, I can pass on this information to my own team; many of our team meetings have started with me saying, “I was chatting with Don this morning and…”
  3. My ideas are different in the morning: Have you ever woken up with a great idea, but it just gets kinda killed through the day before you even get a chance to act? Quiet mornings are the soil, water, and sunlight that your idea seed needs. Free of interruptions, you can get going on it. Plus, I don’t know if this applies to you, but my ideas are different in the morning. Just that little bit of perspective change seems to foster a slightly varied way of thinking. Driving in while the sun is coming up, the runners are all about, and wildlife hasn’t yet gone to bed for the day…it’s like a different world.
  4. I can leave early without feeling guilty: If I’ve been in the office since 7:00am, and I look out the window at 4:30pm and it’s a beautiful day, then I’m not going to feel too guilty about leaving to go biking, do yard-work, run errands, or just quietly read.
  5. The washrooms are pristine and unspoiled: I work in an office in which several hundred guys share a single 4U3T washroom. ‘Nuff said? Yeah, I think so.
  6. Early morning -> empty roads -> shorter commute: (Many of you will read this and be angry) Early in the morning, there’s substantially less traffic between me and the office. These free streets can cut my commute time almost in half. Granted, for me that means getting it down to eight minutes from a worst-case scenario of 15 minutes…but still, I appreciate it!

That’s all I could think of right now, but I’m sure there are more. Please share some of your own perks in the comment section below!

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Posted in Careers, Everything

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