Full Time Hours

I started a discussion on my Facebook wall and decided to move it here. I was recently chatting with a friend who also works full time from home. I asked her her definition of full time. She said 50-60 hours a week. My understanding of full time is 40 hours a week. (In the interests of full disclosure I work full time, at home, and usually put in upwards of 50 per week but that’s because I need to have things finished before I log off for the evening, not because it’s expected of me.)

Do people think that because you work from home you can put in more hours? Do you think advantage is taken of your availability?

What do you consider full-time?

If you work full-time at home, do you have a policy of no work calls or emails between certain hours? Is this a policy you stick to quietly, or is it something that your co-workers are aware of so that they don’t contact you at this time?

I try to have a policy of closing down my work email for the night between 7pm and 8 pm. When the kids are in school then from 4.30pm till 7pm is THEIR time – and I try to be around and not working. I will check email if I need to, but they come first. Having an office at home is good, because if I physically leave the office, I have made a separation between work and home.

So – weigh in!

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  1. Mike S. says:

    For professional employment what matters is getting the job done, not the number of hours you are at it.

  2. I think Mike S. missed the point. When you work in an office, you get to leave the office at some point – and though you may be checking your email on your phone or taking the occasional call from your boss about something, you are OFF work when you leave. As someone who also works from home, I very much understand where you’re coming from. People expect that I ought to be available at all hours – why can’t I take a 7:30pm phone call if my office is right off my living room? Well, here’s why: Because I have a life. Because work is not my whole life. Because I deserve to eat dinner & take a creative writing class at night if I want to, too. Or, heck, just watch some TV! Because although I am fortunate enough to be able to easily pop back into my office if I forgot to do something or want to work late, it’s vital to create a work/life balance that doesn’t require me to be “at work” every time I’m at home.

  3. shorty says:

    I know here, officially, the number of hours per week is 37.5. I think on average people probably aim for between 40-50 hrs if they are salary (ie not paid per hour). Some projects require a bit more time, so it is expected that the employee put in a few more hours here and there, but i believe it isn’t supposed to exceed a certain number.

    That being said, my husband is SUPPOSED to work 37.5, but his boss keeps him there for far longer each day. Some places of work are like that. and when you’re salary, it makes it hard to argue at times.

    If you’re working from home, i think the aim should be the same 40 hrs per week, (assuming you’re working for someone). But if you are running your own business, sometimes you have to work more. I know many home business owners that start/stop at certain times of the day, which is very admirable, and if they can make their business successful than super. But some businesses need more time.

  4. Mark says:

    If full-time at an office is 40 hours and your commute is an hour, then you spend a total of 50 hours a week for work (40 working + 10 commuting). So perhaps 50 hours at home is comparable somehow? (not really because if you use public transit, you can do other things during those 10 hours of commuting. Of course “other things” could also be reading/responding to work emails on a mobile device.)

  5. Z! says:

    Realty is, as per labor laws, even if you’re on salary in NY or NJ, 40 hours per week is a work week. If you’re requested to work longer, you are owed overtime. No argument. The labor law is on the employee’s side. They do not differentiate between salaried and hourly. Unless you are in an “executive position” such as a personal secretary, legal profession, accounting ect., in which case the laws of overtime do not apply to you.
    Both states are also “work at will” states. Meaning you do not have to give notice to quit, and your employer doesn’t have to give a reason or warning to fire you.
    That being said, my hubby and I own our own business. We are “on call” 24/6. We try very hard to work hard when we have alot of work, putting in whatever hours are required. A “regular work day” is 8 am to 5 or so. A crazy busy work day could be from 8 am to 9 pm. When it’s slower, we take advantage with maybe half days for beach, relaxation and zoo time.

  6. formermonseyite says:

    It depends on your job. I am a lawyer. I work full time – meaning 12 hours a day. 40 hours a week is considered part time. I worked from home while I was on maternity leave. But I made sure that between 4 and 8 I did not check any emails or calls because that was family time.

  7. I thought working from home and being self-employed would be easier on me but oh, boy, talk about taking your work home with you. I was definitely putting in something crazy like 72 hours a week. Apparently, the worst boss I’ve ever had was me.

    I definitely think that people don’t take you or your work very seriously when you say you work from home and they have no idea that sometimes, when you work from home that means you’re ALWAYS at work. Especially if you don’t set boundaries like I DID NOT.

    People definitely thought I was available at a drop of a hat. They didn’t realize that any time I took “off” was time I was going to have to pay back later in the wee hours to finish an assignment and when I blew people off “for work,” there were guffaws.

    Full-time SHOULD be 40 hours but I know so many people working at home and at offices who are working way beyond that. We’re a nation of workaholics whether or not we want to be. I know a lot of people working 12 hour days at full-time jobs. People who own their own businesses have a certain flexibility but I see them taking calls about work all day when they’re not in the office.

    It sounds like you’ve set good boundaries. I’m glad your family is so understanding. Mine was not. They couldn’t decide if I was lazy because I wasn’t doing stuff around the house–hello, working from home does not mean I had enormous free time to do housekeeping and chores–or if I was killing myself being a workaholic. Finally, once my work got more respect, my family decided it was the latter.

    I think having your own office at home definitely helps. I had like a corner of a room and it was open to everyone and every distraction.

  8. Duvii says:

    Yesterday I worked 12 hours in the office, worked my email at home for 2 hours then was on a conference call from 03:30 to 04:45.

    Wednesday I was in the office 08:00 until 23:30.

    Sunday, Monday and Tuesday it was a minimum of 11 hours each day in the office plus email at home.

    Today was only 7 hours in the office plus phone during my 1 hour commute.

    Any questions?

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