Stay away from work over weekend

My older daughter just finish 1st grade. One thing I learned is first graders do have some homework, at the same time they usually don’t have homework over the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). In other words, homework usually won’t be assigned out on Friday and due to Monday. This is something I like to talk about it today. Over the years I worked professionally, mostly for employers, I did encounter tight deadlines or last minute assignment which means I have to work or “hinted to work” over weekend and holidays. I recall in some scenarios we need to come into office and work. There is the line I want to draw: don’t commit to it if all at possible. In fact this is mostly a sign of bad management or planning when at Friday afternoon, the boss (project manager, someone who manages our work) came in, and say something needs to be done that urgently, and we need to work non-stop over Friday evening or Saturday, or even Sunday. This is both non-sense and counter productive.

We as knowledge workers usually don’t completely stop working even after normal work hours, sometimes we will (I know I do) think about the technical issues on the way from work to home, and sometimes we recall something like “ah, I may have done something wrong there, I will go back and fix it”. In fact I did something like that in my early career. Some other times, we monitor a long run job at home, or we test out new ideas coding on a company laptop. But we need break as human beings. Force us to work over weekend basically took away that, not to mention people who have families.

The downside of mandatory “overtime” in weekend (esp. coming to office) is that the workers never get rest in a normal weekend, thus hurting the productivity in the following week. In the example I gave earlier (the supervisor asked us to show up for work), looking back I think even him did not believe by coming in work on Saturday we will complete the project on time. This is mostly a show from management side, to let the upper management know that we are working hard. One of the dumbest thing I saw in my 17 years professional life.

On the positive side, I do have a few successful stories where I worked or thinking hard on a problem, and was able to solve a critical problems, all on a voluntary bases (nobody told me to come to office, I understand the urgency of the issue).