This will present two scenarios to you, showing the potential benefits of working above and beyond the minimum of what is reaquired of you.
The first scenario is finishing your work before it is done, and you're still within work hours. This presents a perfect opportunity to ask for more work from a manager or team leader, or to start working ahead of yourself. Working ahead of yourself is an interesting time-management technique. If you have scheduled your work for the week ahead, try to do some of your work that is due the next day, the tasks that aren't group dependent, or happen due to time context. This'll actually lower your overall work load over the week, while improving your efficiency. By improving your efficiency, you have improved your productivity, and that would mean going above what is required by you.
You may notice that there is a big difference between what is expected of you, and what is required of you as an employee. Managers may require you to fulfill your basic obligations to your work, but they'll often expect more than you. By fulfilling this expectation, you can improve your position within the company. For example, if you are consistent in your work, and often do more than what is expected of you, you'll find it easier to negotiate a raise or a promotion. By only doing the minimum, your standing is greatly reduced.
In the second scenario, your work week has finished, though you have not finished your work. The minimum would dictate that you can go home now, relax, and not have to think of your workload until the next time you're in. This is not how it goes. Often, you'll be thinking about the work you've left unfinished. It may bother you, make you feel stressed, or worse still, make you dread going back. This presents the opportunity to stay behind and finish your work.
If you're already efficient at working, then this may not have happened to you before. From my own experience, it is always better to complete your workload that has been set for the day, and avoid the possibility that the work carries over to the next day. If it does, then that means you'll need to do more in order to fulfill the bare minimum, and it becomes harder to get out of the spiral.
I believe there is a large misconception in regards to work ethic. 'If I am already efficient, produce the work that is required from me, and work during my 40-hour week, why should I do more than the minimum? Doesn't that already make me better than my co-workers?' The question is not, 'should I do more than the minimum,' but rather, it should be 'what can I gain from doing more than the minimum?' Further more, if you do not do more than the minimum, how will anyone know you are better than others? In terms of climbing the ladder, this does not make strategic sense. As such, i believe it is vital to do more than the minimum, but to make sure you do not over crowd your schedule. Your managers may expect a lot from you, but the last thing they want is an employee who cannot stand to do their work.
By: Alexander Morrison