Timing is Everything in the Workplace

As the saying goes, timing is everything. Life is all about timing. Most of us have experienced the affects of poor timing in relationships and daily interactions with people alike. But timing also needs to be strategic in the workplace. There are very specific times to ensure your optimal results.

Best time to approach your boss for a raise
Be wise when approaching your boss for a raise, especially in trying economic times or when the company has experienced a major setback. Just because you are thriving at your career and doing everything you can, doesn’t mean the company in general in experiencing the same success. Therefore the worst time to ask your boss for a raise is during a particularly stressful time when your he or she is already worrying about how much revenue the company is bringing in. Perhaps your company experiences slower months at certain times of the year, particularly if you are working for a start-up. Be conscious of this. Furthermore, try not to ask for a raise at the end of a quarter, when employers typically experience more financial pressure.

If the timing is right, the worst thing to do is to interrupt your boss when he or she in the middle of other important business matters, knee-deep in paperwork, or is experiencing an already hectic workday. Never pop in unexpectedly and ask for more money. Instead, send an email several days in advance and schedule a time when the two of you can talk, one-on-one, ideally towards the end of the week when times are less chaotic. Ideally, the best time to is in the wake of a major work success or after he or she has praised your work or expressed your importance to the company.

Best time for effective co-corker communication
In workplace communication among co-workers and superiors, strategic timing is essential for effective communication. A message delivered too late will be rendered irrelevant. Pick a time when your audience is most receptive, and when you have their full attention. If you try to approach a co-worker who is in the middle of doing something or surrounded by competing stimuli and distractions, your message is unlikely to be heard or taking into consideration in the same manner. Likewise, don’t try to communicate with co-workers and employees when he or she is rushing out the door at the end of the day or on their way to lunch. Pick a time when you have their undivided attention and when you have time yourself to engage in a dialogue and answer questions. If you need to, schedule a lunch or a specific time in the day to talk.

Best time to plan a group outing
Timing is important when planning a workplace social event. Pick a time when all departments in your company are experiencing a relatively calm workflow and able to take an afternoon off, or spend an evening engaging socially. Try not to plan things on the weekend, as the weekends are sacred for most young professionals and, no offense, but the last thing they likely want to do is be surrounded by co-workers. To ensure optimal attendance, allow enough time to give your employees sufficient notice to save the date. Typically these summer months are the best time for social engagements in the workplace. 

Best time to fire someone
As an employer, there may never feel as though there is an ideal time to fire someone, especially if the decision to do so was a difficult one. Ideally, the best day to end an employment is the first day after this decision has been made. Fridays are typically the worst for your company and the employee alike. Not only is the news sure to ruin his or her weekend, he or she will likely be resentful and hurt and has all weekend to share (vent) his or her thoughts and grievances on you and the company with friends and family. Terminating an employment earlier in the week gives employees time to job search, file for unemployment and reach out to others in their network (who may not be available on the weekends) for potential job leads. Monday, however, is typically negative because it is a bad day for people in general. No matter the case, make the move earlier in the day as it may seem that like a slap in the face at the end of a long day and they may be resentful.

Best time to plan an important meeting
The best time to plan an important meeting is toward the beginning of the week when levels of focus are high and people generally feel more productive. Depending on your profession, Monday mornings at 9 may not be the best idea because people typically like to get settled, plan their weekly goals for themselves and respond to emails that may have come in late on Friday or over the weekend. Furthermore, if you schedule a meeting at 9am, employees will need to prepare the day before and may turn up not as prepared as they could be. Don’t schedule a meeting, especially one that of an important nature, later than 3pm because time may run out (employees with kids may need to rush out right at 5 to pick them up from daycare) and focus levels are generally lower toward the end of the day. You want them to be focused on the subject at hand, not the clock.