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Some hard-working employees have an even harder-working boss who is the last to leave the office.

The problem: Every night, your workaholic boss is still glued to the computer when you need to leave. How to go home without looking like a slacker?

Should you sneak out, hoping to avoid a FIVE o’clock showdown at the agency? Guiltily apologize, promising to be on email all night? Or just walk straight towards the door in the most professional way you can?

Many hard-working employees have an even harder-working boss who toils late into the night. Career coaches and employees who have been there say the first priority should be conveying that you are still working hard—and good at your job. That requires communicating clearly and frequently about your progress and results. Ideally, you want to figure out what the boss really needs and deliver it consistently enough that your hours become a non-issue.

Many employees assume managers value people for working day and night, and workplace trends support that belief:

But before you get too hung up on work hours, check your assumptions about what the boss wants. Managers work long hours for a variety of reasons: It may be a personal habit or preference, or perhaps they just don’t want to go home. “People make way too many guesses about managers’ expectations that are just wrong,”

When managers focus on employees’ work hours, they are often looking for reassurance on other fronts: that their subordinates are meeting deadlines; that they can be reached when needed, and that they aren’t creating extra work for colleagues.

THE KEY; Healthy communication. Employees should sit down with their bosses and ask them to define job objectives and time lines for reaching them. Then look for appropriate times to communicate about progress.

There are many ways to project a hard-working image. If a manager speaks about a project in an intense, focused way, answer with similar intensity, acknowledging its importance and repeating the deadline. Manage time well in one-on-one meetings, moving quickly through your agenda, and, of course, be prepared to work long hours during a crisis or busy season, or when a major project deadline is looming.

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