How To: Get Promoted

May 23, 2014


By Lyndsey Hall


According to a recent article, there is one simple, fool proof way to get into your boss’s good books and stay there. And that is: get to work on time.

New research by the University of Washington has revealed that, despite many organisations now offering flexible working hours, employers still see those who turn up earlier as more conscientious. Flexitime has been introduced into many companies, including Google and Microsoft; we even enjoy flexible hours here at Knowles Warwick (thanks boss!), but according to the study, taking the option to turn up to work later is a sure fire way to be overlooked at promotion time.

Does the early bird truly catch the worm?

The first stage of the study involved asking 120 participants if they were aware of the stereotype surrounding early-risers and conscientiousness; and on average people were aware of sayings such as ‘early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, and ‘the early bird catches the worm’, creating a “natural implicit association between morning and conscientiousness”.

A follow-up field study measured 149 employee-supervisor relationships to find out if the specific timings of a person’s work day effected the performance rating they received from their supervisor. Participants were asked to play the role of supervisor and rate the performances of fictitious employees. The ‘morning’ condition employee preferred to work from 7am till 3pm, and the ‘evening’ condition employee tended to work from 11am till 7pm. The ‘supervisors’ gave consistently better ratings of performance and conscientiousness to the ‘morning’ condition employees.

According to Christopher Barnes of the University of Washington, who led the research, “Team leaders must come to accept that the people who use flexitime to start their day late are not necessarily lazier than their early-bird colleagues. Otherwise, flexitime policies that could serve both employees and employers well will become known, and avoided, as routes to dead-end careers.”

Are you an early-bird or a late-riser? Does your company offer flexible working hours, and how do you view those who prefer the late shift? Let us know your opinions in the Comments.


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