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Miss Office Manners: Tips for All the Early Risers

by Mary Isner / April 27, 2023

With the ease of the pandemic, where people work falls across the spectrum. Some people work in the office full-time, some telework full-time, and others work in a hybrid office. 

These pointers from Miss Office Manners may help you. I offer solutions for both the in-office and telework Early-bird in this installment. Happy reading!

The In-Person Early Bird

Dear Miss Office Manners: I am an early bird. I have never been late for anything in my life. I always thought this was good until a friend and I talked the other day. She complained about a coworker showing up 15 minutes early to in-person meetings. 

I stayed silent as I knew I had been guilty of doing the same thing. It has never even crossed my mind that there is such a thing as being too early. Is there?

-- Always Catching the Worm

Dear Always Catching the Worm:

This is a great question! While punctuality is important, particularly in the workplace, there is such a thing as being too early for a meeting. Showing up for a meeting 5 minutes early is a great thing…showing up for a meeting 15 minutes early is beginning to cross the line. It could even be considered rude, depending on the situation. 

Let me give a story to illustrate. I used to work for someone who insisted we arrive at meetings sometimes as early as 30 minutes before the start time. I would cringe when we showed up for 9:00 AM meetings at 8:30 AM, and the person we were to meet was just walking in and still needed to take off their coat. It was just plain rude! 

Even if it is not an early morning meeting, you do not know what the other meeting participants are doing beforehand. The presenters could be at the meeting location trying to get set up, etc. A good rule is to arrive at meetings no sooner than 5ish minutes before the start time. Hope that helps!

The Teleworker Early Bird

Dear Miss Office Manners: I am a full-time teleworker. My employer has core business hours that we must work, but the other hours we work are up to us as long as we make up an 8-hour workday. I am up at 4:00 AM, so I usually start working around 5:00. 

I get so much done during those early morning hours. I fire off instant messages and send emails. My coworkers are not working then, so I don't expect them to answer me until they start their work day. But it is helpful to get these messages out while I am in my flow and being productive. I am afraid I will lose my thoughts if I wait until later to send the message. This is perfectly acceptable, right?!

-- Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed

Dear Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed:

We must be related because I start work at 5:00 AM some days! I agree with you that those early morning hours when no one else is around are the most productive for me. I think it is a great time to draft instant messages and emails, BUT you should schedule them to be delivered at the start of your workplace’s core business hours. 

I understand that you do not expect anybody to answer you that early in the morning, and even if you tell them you don't expect it, you are still putting it out there and disrupting their personal time. So, do your coworkers a favor while maximizing your productive time and hit “schedule” rather than “send.” Good luck to you!

I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy work environment. Be safe and well, everyone!

Tags: Office Manners

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Mary Isner

Mary Isner

Mary has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as a facility planning analyst for Fentress since 2003. In her free time, she enjoys baking, decorating, and spending time with her family.