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Poll: Do you keep strict business hours?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:47
SITE STAFF
May 18, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you keep strict business hours?".

This poll was originally submitted by Vera Schoen. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! May 18, 2014

I will reproduce exactly what I said some time ago to a very similar question (March 2013):
http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/245980-poll_how_strictly_do_you_adhere_to_normal_business_hours_as_regards_availability.html

There is nothing strict about my working hours. The whole point of being a freelancer, at least for me, is to be your own boss, to be free from a strict schedule and routine and to be able to structure one's time. When work comes my way (and I accept it), I just do it, regardless of working hours! It's Sunday and I'm just starting my "working day"...


[Edited at 2014-05-18 11:08 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:47
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No May 18, 2014

How can a freelancer observe strict business hours and still be in business?

When a project needs to be finished by a certain deadline, then I've worked nights before, though rarely. This doesn't mean that I'd go online at 1 a. m. just to ensure I won't miss a job.

I have other "must keep" appointments which keepo me away from the computer. If the "pric(z)e" is right, then strict business hours are the least of my concerns.icon_wink.gif


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 04:47
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No, never May 18, 2014

I thought the whote attraction of being independent is not being strapped in and shackled to 'strict business hours.'
Of course, there is a downside that you might have to work like the clappers into the dead of night or on weekends to get a job/project done on time in the event that it turns out more difficult than originally antiicipated or for other unforeseen circumstances.

If I kept 'strict business hours' I wouldn't be able to plant veggies and tinker around the garden as I do here in fantastic Kyoto weather during the daytime.

Ho, hum. 'spose it's tiime to open a brewsky and take a few slugs while I plough through this atrociously simple job I have in front of me. Can't do that in a regular 9-5, can you? Cheers, slurrrrrrrrrp! icon_biggrin.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The fact that this poll is running on a Sunday will skew it May 18, 2014

OK, whenever you run it, it will probably be outside normal working hours anyway, but in large parts of the world, Sunday is a non-working day for those who keep strict business hours.

There are advantages in being available when your clients are most likely to try and reach you, but there are also advantages in working undisturbed when they are not... even when you don't have time-zones to consider as many do.

So no, I don't work strict business hours either.


[Edited at 2014-05-18 21:27 GMT]


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:47
Member (2006)
German to English
No May 18, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

I thought the whote attraction of being independent is not being strapped in and shackled to 'strict business hours.'
Of course, there is a downside that you might have to work like the clappers into the dead of night or on weekends to get a job/project done on time in the event that it turns out more difficult than originally antiicipated or for other unforeseen circumstances.

If I kept 'strict business hours' I wouldn't be able to plant veggies and tinker around the garden as I do here in fantastic Kyoto weather during the daytime.

Ho, hum. 'spose it's tiime to open a brewsky and take a few slugs while I plough through this atrociously simple job I have in front of me. Can't do that in a regular 9-5, can you? Cheers, slurrrrrrrrrp! icon_biggrin.gif


Oh cheers, have to wait 6 hours to that thoughicon_wink.gif


 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 20:47
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
No May 18, 2014

I keep business hours in terms of being accessible for answering e-mails but my working hours vary and can sometimes go well into the night or even overnight and into weekends to meet deadlines, especially if I've been busy with something else during the day.

For example, yesterday, I spent 4/5 hours in the garden as rain was forecast for today (and it's here) so here I am working away on Sunday for tomorrow's deadline. May is a very busy month in the garden (and I have a half acre to weed and plant) so I expect I'll be doing a lot of late nights and weekends for a while to get translations finished.

The joys of being able to make my own schedules...


 

tilak raj  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:17
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
No May 18, 2014

Freelancer work is a working race, you can't bound yourself in hours. Internet means your business is 24X7 open. So There is no time limit in it.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Oh dear... May 18, 2014

tilakahuja wrote:
Freelancer work is a working race, you can't bound yourself in hours. Internet means your business is 24X7 open. So There is no time limit in it.

That sounds truly awful. I don't see my business that way at all. I see freelancing as the ideal way to keep control of when I work and when I play.

If I need the money, then I may actively search for work during the evenings and weekends, and take on urgent jobs at higher rates during those unsocial hours. OTOH, if it's important for me to spend time with my family or friends, or just relaxing, then I can shut up shop during unsocial hours and only take on those jobs I have time for during the week. But if I'm not doing anything else on a Sunday afternoon or late one evening I may choose to work, without even charging higher rates for it.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 14:47
German to English
+ ...
considerations May 18, 2014

My initial answer was "no" and that's what I put in the poll. But then I thought about different things:

- What are "business hours"? My first instant picture was: 9:00 - 5:00, Mon. to Fri., local time. But there are business such as private teachers who might go 3:00 - 9:00 p.m. because their clients are mostly kids who can make it after school or adults after work. If we work internationally, then we're also outside of local time. When my client in the Orient needs something "Monday morning", that is my Sunday afternoon.

- Back to local business hours: As freelancers we have a competitive edge over companies with in-house translators who shut down after 5:00 p.m. and are closed on week-ends and holidays. We can pick up the business they reject, or grab their overflow. So "standard business hours" is probably not the norm for most of us.

But we DO have to exercise some kind of control over the hours we work, for a healthy lifestyle (= health). It might be a rigid schedule which constitutes our own personal business hours (not necessarily 9 - 5), or just monitoring how many hours we are working, restricting what we will take on. You can go 12 hours straight once in a while but it shouldn't be become the norm.
------------
The topic is timely because I have just dealt with something. I took on a translation project in December, which included feedback from the end client, and then printing and certifying the hard copy. Except that the feedback never happened, and I was told to wait for printing and sending. I did get paid. Later Friday afternoon, now (May) the end client suddenly wanted to do this stage. Without consulting me, the agency arranged that it would be ready on Tuesday after the long week-end - which involves MY hours.

As I'm writing this it is Sunday and I'm pondering this. I did go through the feedback on the old project, made comments, changes where warranted - on a Saturday - and e-mailed them. It is clear to me that both the end client and the agency are "keeping regular hours" (no response on the week-end). But it was taken for granted that I would honour the arrangement that I had no part in, and work over the week-end.

Before seeing this poll I had already decided that the rest of this long week-end is mine. And I think there is something important here, because some regular agencies will make assumptions about our time. If we ** do ** have regular hours, we have to also enforce that, and maybe make exceptions at our own discretion. And if we are ultra-flexible, we also have to know how to say "no".

In fact, as I'm writing, I'm thinking that maybe having some kind of official hours may be helpful in this respect.


 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:47
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not strict... May 18, 2014

... but I do try to keep business hours of some sort.
I don't have internet on my phone and my computer is in my 'office' (room designated for work) so I usually don't work, reply to emails etc. after, say, 6.30-7 pm or in the weekends. Today is an exception - very busy week.


 

Liena Vijupe  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 22:47
Member (2014)
French to Latvian
+ ...
Other May 18, 2014

I do keep some kind of business hours to separate work and leisure better (and to avoid procrastination and last minute stress as well) but they're not very strict.
When I work then I work (or at least stay accessible and reply to e-mails) and when I don't then I just don't think about work. However, the work has to be done and how I organize it, that's another matter, but I have rarely worked late at night or over weekends lately unless I've been too lazy or busy with other things during my "business hours".


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
between 10 and 10 May 18, 2014

I try not to work before 10 am, and I try not to work after 10 pm. I take Sundays off, but still visit the forums here on Proz.

It can be a little tricky to maintain business hours. I have a few European clients and the difference in time zones can make communication a little more complicated. So even though I don't work after 10pm, I'll still check emails and ask/answer questions.


 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:47
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Oh , dear! May 18, 2014

I submitted this question years ago…
At that time I was available “all the time” and was starting to get seriously stressed out. That’s why I was curious about how my fellow translators managed their time, and if it is at all possible to keep some kind of business hours. Turns out it is. Nowadays I’m only available Monday to Friday from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. Of course I sometimes work in the weekend or very early mornings (my brains shut down in the evening), but I don’t check my mails and for me that works brilliantly.
Vera
P.S. I would have missed this poll if my nephew hadn’t phoned me to ask me check a text of his.


[Edited at 2014-05-18 18:19 GMT]


 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:47
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Addendum May 18, 2014

What I was really interested in wasn’t really how the actual translations are being managed, but how and when your clients can contact you/you get back to your clients.

Vera


 
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