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Working late: The best way to impress employers?

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While London office space may be some of the finest in the world, there is no place like home after a long day at work.

However pleasant their working environment may be, the majority of employees are eager to make a dash for the door when their shift comes to an end each day.

But in difficult economic times, it appears many workers are watching the clock sail past 5pm – or whatever time they are scheduled to finish – in order to complete their work.

Fears over potential redundancies may be persuading some office workers to go beyond the call of duty, in a bid to impress their boss and keep themselves out of the firing line.

Whether or not this is a good idea is debatable – there are a number of different issues to consider.

For those who desperately need to keep their job, working longer hours – and unpaid overtime – is likely to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

Employers should take note of employees who are willing to go the extra mile, and recognise them as a valuable member of the workforce.

Equally, if promotion opportunities arise, they may be in a stronger position to apply for a new role, based upon their efforts in the past.

But then, staying late offers no guarantees whatsoever – an individual may put in many extra hours only to find that they lose their job anyway.

If a company goes bust, or decides to restructure, there are inevitable casualties on the employee side.

Sometimes, businesses even have to let valued staff members go in order to survive – if there is no money to pay them, people will not work for free.

Equally, impressing a line manager may carry limited weight if a higher boss or company executive decides to weigh in on human resources.

And spending every hour under the sun in the office is likely to do little for their health, mental wellbeing and productivity.

Employees need to keep their evenings free to switch off and recuperate for the next day at work – otherwise their performance is likely to suffer.

And employers are likely to value high-quality work completed in normal working hours, as opposed to patchy, fatigued performance dragged out over a whole day.

So essentially, employees need to balance risk and opportunity.

On the one hand, they should be looking to impress their employers and line managers – for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons.

But equally, they need to look after themselves and their own interests. Working an 80-hour week can easily lead to poorer performance – and there is a strong argument in favour of quality over quantity.