I have wednesday off, so the week is divided into two-day stretches. Not sure if I'm any more productive maybe , but I'm a lot happier. I suspect some coworkers are going to follow my lead, now that the precedent has been set. I don't think your plan is for everyone since if you need to be synced with a team not working on Wednesdays is negative in the long run. I never said it was for everyone, but I suspect people magnify the expected issues a lot. Everyone knows I won't be here on wednesdays, so we try to arrange things so I'm not a bottleneck during that time.
If some really important deadline shows up, I'll just work the one wednesday and take thursday off instead, it's not a big deal. I haven't needed to yet though. Besides, assuming you're not on a really tiny team, if many parts of your project hinge on one person with no available backup, you have bigger problems related to project management. Or you're an early startup. Sometimes hinged-on-one-person is all you have because there are only a few people with some non-overlapping talents.
The definition of a really tiny team. If you know that the person isn't there on Wednesday, you adapt. This is nonsense, although it may depend on the kind of job you have. For most of us, we don't need to be there five days a week. You can plan around that. Of course if you have five people in a team and everybody has a different day off, you can never get together, and that may be a problem.
HeyLaughingBoy on Jan 5, Pretty much anything can be made to work if it's planned for and executed properly. Our dev process required a lot of meetings and interaction. So in order to ensure clear blocks of working time, we used to set aside days as "no meeting days" Some people would take the opportunity to work from home on those days since it was guaranteed they wouldn't be pulled into a meeting.
Once you know Sally, Jared and Kaitlyn won't be in on Tuesdays, you plan around it. It's really not a big deal. TranquilMarmot on Jan 5, This happens where I work- one of my coworkers is here Monday - Thursday 10 hour days but takes Friday off. He's the only one with knowledge of a lot of our legacy systems, so a lot of potential work doesn't happen on Fridays.
I'd argue that more of us should learn what he knows to avoid "hit by a bus syndrome" but we don't have enough spare man hours to devote to that. Drdrdrq on Jan 5, You could also just follow his lead and take Fridays off I've had this schedule for about two years now. Never had any syncing issues. That's why everyone works seven days a week. Is that much going to happen on Wednesday that can't easily be caught up on Thursday? I did the same for several years at my last job although with Friday off so I had long weekends.
It was great and I'd encourage anyone to try it if they can. I definitely felt like it made me more productive per hour worked. A shorter week added a little bit of time pressure that helped me stay focused, and I'd often finish something in four days that might otherwise have stretched to five. Total output was probably a little lower, but I took an equivalent pay cut when I reduced my hours.
I was only able to make that arrangement after I'd been at the job for a while.
Work Less, Accomplish More
When I changed jobs, I went back to five days a week, and I'm definitely missing the long weekends. I too prefer the split as it gives me enough contiguous time to concentrate on work and my hobbies. Absolutely, that was what I was trying to convey productivity per hour rather than total productivity but it was poorly worded.
A lot of discussion around shortening the work week focuses on the latter. While there may be cases where that's true, I think focusing the discussion on that is wrong because it assumes that there has to be an economic argument for making the change. For me, people having more free time is a positive in itself that society should probably optimise more for. I am certainly not less productive per hour worked.
I might be more productive, I don't know, but that should not be the only reason we contemplate such a change. Did other benefits which legally require a 'full time' schedule go away? The worst possible scenario would be workers switching to shorter work weeks, accepting pay cuts and loss of benefits, and proceeding to be more productive for their employer. I mean, unscrupulous employers would love it, but for society it would be terrible.
Yes, sort of. I approached this during the yearly salary interview. So I'm getting paid 0. I'd rather not work more hours than I really want because my employer might benefit from me doing what I want to. If this concerns you, you can just keep your productivity per hour to the same level as it was before.
I have no idea if I'm actually more productive, and I don't really care. What matters to me is I now have an extra day every week to do something that I actually want to be doing, rather than working for someone else. Put another way, if you feel like your skills are undervalued, talk to your employer about a raise.
Just curious: why did you decide to take Wednesday's off instead of Monday or Friday, thus getting three day weekends? Personally, for almost all of my professional life I didn't work Monday's 32 hour work week. That worked out really well for me.
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I figured it'd be nice to only ever have two-day work stretches. I didn't put much thought into it, just decided to try it and I've been happy with it so far. I feel a lot more energetic on thursdays and fridays now. I am doing exactly the same for quite some time already, but sadly nobody followed my lead yet. I don't loose hope though. How did you manage to arrange that? Can't speak for GP, but what I did was move my schedule up to or so, let my arrival date float between and so I could come in pretty much when I felt like it.
After awhile my workload dropped practically to zero, and I started leaving at 5. Kept it up even when there was a workload, and found that completion times didn't suffer. Don't propose anything. Just start shifting your schedule around and see if people complain. Do it slowly and people won't notice, or if they do, won't care.
In the corporate world, you don't ask for permission, only forgiveness.
The word they use for it is 'initiative'. I should also note that management is likely to see this not as a wayward employee bucking the rules, but as someone doing what he needs to under the circumstances to make himself happy. So long as it's not egregious and work quality stays ultra-sharp, everybody involved is going to just work around your preferences. They know you'll be much less likely to leave if you're happy with your situation, the damage you cause by leaving is far worse than the damage caused by bucking the standards.
Around the time I was doing this, I got a new manager. I was wholly unwilling to reorient my schedule around his expectations, but I would stay until he left for the first few weeks. One day I followed him out, even though it was at least an hour before I "should" have been leaving. I'd also taken an hour-plus long lunch that day. I told him I usually leave at 5, but I was staying late in case he had any questions for me. He was like, "even though you took a long lunch??
He didn't mention it again, until I started talking about taking another job. There is a space in between political expectations, business needs, and personal wishes at any job that is ripe for exploration and exploitation. One can iterate towards their ideal work environment and conditions at any job where their performance is stellar.
Just keep the business needs and political expectations in mind and you can practically get away with murder. Who said the pay was the same? I have a semi-retired relative who does just that. As it is now, I'm vocal at reviews that I'll take more days off per year in lieu of direct salary increase -- an idea which seems to throw people off and hasn't been seriously entertained. At some point, I'll make enough annually, that I'll simply start taking days off without pay, which is something payroll seems to really hate for some reason when it concerns salaried folks.
That's because they know they should just tell you that they don't need to pay you less—you're a salaried employee. Salaried employees get paid a fixed salary to get a job done. The part that employers enjoy in the arrangement is you being able to work more hours to get something done and your compensation remains a fixed cost.
What they don't like to talk about is the other side of the coin: It doesn't matter how much time it doesn't take either. So accordingly you should, in theory, be able to work less days if you get your job done in those days. But the reality is that many managers and employers only support the part that benefits them. Even many of the ones that are supportive of someone taking a Friday off every other week feel that they're doing you a favor or giving you a "perk". At the end of the day your manager has to support it and if necessary continue believing they're doing you a favor because they can find a way to shit-can you if you start pushing boundaries they're not comfortable with in the US.
I'll simply start taking days off without pay, which is something payroll seems to really hate for some reason when it concerns salaried folks. At the risk of sounding too glib, the short answer to why they hate it is it creates work for them. In the US, all of the major payroll processing services are geared towards either hourly or salaried templates.
If you take days off without pay, changing the salary, someone in payroll has to manually key in the delta off your normal pay period processing numbers. That sometimes has downstream ramifications upon unemployment insurance reporting and remittance, for larger companies there are other regulatory-originated reporting that this can impact, and put in common issues like tax liens and family court-mandated levies, just for starters, and it gets hairy. Generally payroll processing is still built around a set of assumptions that are at odds with emerging knowledge workforce trends; the trends can be accommodated, but it's a hassle.
If you have a good enough relationship with your manager, then you are far better off negotiating a sub-rosa agreement to in your example work Wednesday this week and take off a couple days next week or leave a couple hours earlier each day , and net out to zero change in time worked over a short sub-month period and leaving payroll none the wiser to any change in time worked, than making the payroll department perform an exception-based processing of your payroll. US payroll processing trivia to illustrate how rigid payroll processing systems are today for the small business, and for flexible work arrangements: if you are a really small, micro-sized business, like say an Etsy seller with a couple full-time employees, set up as your own LLC or whatever, you will run payroll, except unlike larger businesses you will frequently want to know how much to pay yourself after paying off all employees and vendors including all employER-side tax liabilities, and not just the employEE-side disbursement.
All of the top-ten payroll processors have no capability to compute that for you; you have to iterate to an approximation. US payroll processing can get really complex, really fast even for small businesses, so I can imagine what a nightmare it must be for the designers and developers of those systems. However, I believe there is still plenty of room for someone to create a disruptive service that caters to and appeals to small businesses. If you are a salaried employee, the only thing payroll should need to know is whether or not you worked at all during the week.
If the answer is yes, you get paid your full salary. If it is no, you get paid your full salary if you have a vacation week left. If it is no, and you have no vacation weeks left, you don't get paid. If taking a day off during a working week causes them additional effort, it is only because they are grossly abusing the definition of salaried employee the entire remainder of the year. If they want to handle employees as though they were hourly, they could just stop lying about their people being salaried exempt employees.
If you are salaried, and your manager is fine with you taking Fridays off, payroll does not need to know. If a deadline approaches, and you need to work Saturday and Sunday, too, payroll does not need to know. Salaried workers are supposed to be paid for getting their work done, and not just for punching the clock. It seems as though many employers are abusing the legal definitions in order to bend labor laws. This is absolutely what is going on in many US companies, no question. That's a separate can of worms for the political and legislative arenas, and not one that individual salaried employees can safely change on their own within their company.
Discussions about this also tend to drag in meta-discussions about compensation, project management, management accounting, work environments, etc. It's messy. What you outlined is definitely what should happen. The jobs situation is bad enough for many fields outside of our own, and even many areas within our own field, that flagrant flouting of salaried exempt labor laws is allowed by regulators, and encouraged by shareholders.
Longer-term, this only hurts the companies, because they're receiving imperfect signaling of actual required effort, distorting all future projections; competitive advantage accrues to those companies that accurately and precisely calibrate their projections to known required effort. Change will come slowly and haphazardly, if only from the ongoing population growth slowdown, hopefully. GP does not mention the impact on its salary. Most likely, but taking into consideration taxes the decrease could be smaller.
Some countries have progressive income tax. Hit the nail on the head. We have a progressive income tax here. So really the amount I get paid each month didn't change all that much. You're assuming a fixed workload-based salary. If we're talking about a salary that has a big variable component commissions, fees, bonuses , the cut may have been smaller.
The better deal would be working four ten-hour days. Particularly if you have a long commute, this is wildly better than five eights. Eight hours isn't really enough time to get anything done, particularly during business hours. I have done this before, but arranged my days off to be alternating Mondays and Fridays so that every two weeks I'd get a four day weekend. My bosses were very generous with my schedule.
Honestly this seems like the ideal scenario. Full pay, likely no argument from superiors about the amount of work you'd accomplish, and the ability to take long weekend trips without wasting a day or two of PTO. I only see a few possible downsides: - Someone expecting you to be in the office and you're not, particularly if they're not familiar with your schedule. This is the schedule my father has, working as a mechanic in a power plant. It's pretty solid. The only kind of ironic downside is that holiday weeks are kind of sucky. The holiday day only pays 8 hours, so he ends up having to still work four eight hour days those weeks.
Working 3 hour days during a week and 6 5-hour days during a week seems equally doable, but I think I would get more complex, brainy problems solved with the latter, and more simpleminded grunt work done with the former. I do this every once in a while, and my most productive hours tend to be The office is silent and there are no distractions or emails. I can just get "in the zone". Maybe I should start doing this more often After a "normal" day of height hours of calls or emails you had two more hours of emails.
My brain was fried and I was glad when the policy was canceled. I loved the extra day though which was Monday or Wednesday and as a software engineer I would love to pull it off, to rest or work on my own thing, but I would gladly take a pay cut than work 10 hours a day constantly. It likely stands for Customer Service Representative. Maybe it's not as well known as an acronym in English as I thought. I think I conflated your current role as a software engineer with your previous job as a CSR.
Besides poor reading comprehension on my part I think assuming a position like CSR is hourly and typically? How is that working less? He'll probably not accept it too, and if he accepts you'll probably not progress inside that company anymore. But he very probably won't get annoyed either.
I agree that shorter hours are likely to be beneficial, but why are people trying to achieve this by passing a law? I think that this can be achieved with a softer approach. Imagine that when you sign up for a job, you select how many days per week do you want to work, from 3 to 6, with proportionate wage scale. That you can select what hours do you want to work. That it's easy to change this arrangement while you're already working.
Now, why is this fantasy not a reality? Not because of laws; laws allow this. But: 1 These creative arrangements require non-standard agreements, and a lot of additional bureaucracy, because in a lot of countries, all the bureaucracy machinery allows it, but is really not optimized for use-cases like that. This can be solved through careful policy work, removing necessary paperwork, streamlining processes, etc. Also, a lot of these scale issues are being solved by modern world anyway, because we're learning to telecommute, work together in more effective ways, automate management tasks, etc.
And I think this is the most important one. It's not in the laws, it's in the people's heads. We need to convince people that one person wants to dedicate work 60 hours per week, spend free time that's left on professional education and succeed in his career, and another is quite OK to work for 20 hours per week, get less promotions, learn less new stuff and earn less money, and spend all his free time with his kids.
We need to stop labeling the first of these persons as "successful" and second one as a "failure": it's OK to be both of them. And they need to be able to work in the same office, on the same project, fully understanding difference in each other's views and being mutually acceptful. I don't know how to do that, but it seems that this cultural change is already slowly happening. Still, advancing it would bring the real change much faster and more effectively than writing new laws. The only way to change culture is through law.
Look at seatbelt use: decades of public awareness campaigns did nothing, but once it became a legal requirement people switched. Also laws are the way to prevent a race to the bottom. If it's legal to work longer hours people will, and everyone else will do so to compete with them. I personally think it's good for productivity France is still considered a very productive country, more than Germany for instance but this law remains regularly critiziced.
Many want it removed or updated. It's very hard to measure human productivity unfortunately. It's much easier to measure the cost of an employee working less hours for the same salary. TheOtherHobbes on Jan 5, There's a very weird and irrational belief that more hours on the job means more productivity. Projects are often goal-based now. But management hasn't entirely caught up with the idea that jobs are no longer about clock punching - and longer clock times can mean less real worker value.
This is partly about power dynamics in the workplace. In many corporations control of time and personal freedom are perks that are only available as you move up the hierarchy. Dysfunctional cultures are much more interested in explicit displays of limited freedom for the worker bees than in true increases in productivity. There's still a maximum limit, I think you must have at least 10h of rest a day but don't quote me on that one.
It's about 8 days per years, on top of regular vacations. Not at all. For gay marriage or pot legalization, large shifts in public opinion have preceded changes to laws. The Moloch post is excellent, but it doesn't really apply here. Productivity isn't a zero sum game; unless you're in a dysfunctional stack ranking environment like Microsoft used to have, being more productive doesn't hurt your coworkers.
And for tech workers in particular, it's impossible to prevent you from working "off the clock" in your spare time. Yet people generally don't, probably because as others have noted just adding hours doesn't actually make you more productive. I think the point of the Moloch reference wasn't that individuals would work longer hours, it's that companies that have people who work longer hours will be more successful.
Oh, is that why almost everyone earns minimum wage? That's exactly why. Because minimum wage puts a floor on the 'bottom' that's being raced to. Otherwise, people would be earning considerably less than the current minimum wage, because the 'bottom' would be even lower. The question was sarcastic poor form, I know.
Otherwise it's still minimum wage driven. Or maybe the minimum wage is driven by real wages. Or maybe they're both by a common factor - like inflation. Well, the point of the law is to have all workers earning at least minimum wage, not necessarily above. Every full-time job is 40 hours, which is the maximum allowed without having to pay overtime. I think it's fair to assume companies will do anything for increased productivity.
That has nothing to do with wages. Categorically false. Full-time means nothing more than hour week. Your logic is self-referential. Very few jobs offer or hour weeks which would still be called full-time. There are part-time jobs that have much shorter hours, or often no contractual hours, but they're a different thing.
DannoHung on Jan 5, No, but it's why people with H1-B visas aren't the highest earners in technology. Changing the law is not the only thing that would need to be done. You would also need an executive order to change the way that federal contracts are handled. Currently, huge numbers of salaried professionals employed by contractor companies have to punch the clock as though they were wage-earners in order for the company to get paid for their work.
If you log more than X, you are not necessarily paid any more for overtime.
The contractor-employer could set X to be 40, or 45, or whatever it wants. As it is now, the contracting arrangements dance around the fuzzy edges of labor law, to the detriment of the workers and to the benefit of their employers, and possibly also to the benefit of several additional layers of middlemen. Changing the law is meaningless if you can't enforce it. Not true. What about education?
Education just changes the rules of the game when it comes to working time. In the US, once you have your college degree, you morph from an hourly employee where overtime is paid, to an 'exempt employee' where extra hours are unpaid. Over the years, the federal government has added more jobs to the exempt employee list.
Ideally, the US needs to rewrite the Fair Labour Standards Act to be more in line with the EU working time directive which limits the working time to an average of 48 hours over a period of several weeks. This allows overtime to be used in bursts, but not chronically. That's not true. I'm confused. That proves his point. Every state at a secondary enforcement seat belt law before Every state aside from Maine and South Dakota both of which had relatively high seat belt usage before the law saw an increase in seat belt usage post-law. I think you might be confused by the number.
That year came after the after law percentage. Meaning that enforcement immediately after the law also worked. The law change is binary and sudden, but the change in culture brought all the rest, gradually, year after year, before law and after. You are making assumptions based on zero evidence. The change is binary, enforcement is over time. Your assumptions are without standing. To truly see any trend, we would need to look at not just before the law, but many years before the law. This is one of those sneaky tricks advocates for government intervention use or fall victim to.
To prove the efficacy of OSHA, for example, proponents will show a chart of workplace fatalities or accidents where there are a few or only one data points before the law and then show some spectacular trend that follows after the law was passed. In reality when you go back many more years it is clear the law had little to do with the trend as workplace safety had been increasing for years prior to the law. Wow, thanks for the link. That is awesome--at least what I have read of it so far. Your comment point 2 especially reflects the current widespread notion among employers at least, it seems that one hour of work is one hour of work, always.
I think the main point of the article is exactly to counter that. I think a lot of people would love to work fewer hours, be more productive those hours, if they could retain the same salary. I would love to, at least, but can't afford reduced pay. Thankfully, we don't analytically decide who takes the benefits — labor market is working pretty well at figuring this out. How do you know it's working pretty well? I'm "paid for" 40 hours a week. However since I'm awesome, it takes me only hours a week to accomplish more than the output of the younger software developers.
Work from home, come in late, come in early, work late, leave early. Doesn't matter, it balances out. The more I work from home, the greater productivity gains I have over everyone else that remains at the office. It's satisfying. Go figure. How does that say anything about the labor market market mechanism? Whether it's working well overall is mostly a matter of opinion, but it seems to be working pretty well for sauronlord at least. So sauronlord's reply contributes nothing as an answer to my question about golergka's statement which was: "Thankfully, we don't analytically decide who takes the benefits — labor market is working pretty well at figuring this out.
Because I know how it compares to planned economy, which was doing it completely awfully in comparison. And in general, by every measure labour markets which have enough volume to regulate themselves fair far better than labour markets that are small or subjected to monopoly from either side. DanBC on Jan 5, We tried asking nicely; employers were abusive arseholes. This is why we can't have nice things.
Without law we see huge rich multinationals forcing people to stay at work but "clocking off" and thus not getting paid when things are quiet; or asking for very long hours without sensible overtime. Plenty of non rich small companies do the same thing.
Working fewer hours would make us more productive | Hacker News
Perhaps worse because they don't have official HR policies that cover contingencies. Depending on corporations and owners to offer an option is never going to be as effective as passing a requirement. But my point is that we should care about creating an environment where people are actually free to choose how much are they supposed to work. In other words, you argue of how effective we can be in achieving our goal, while I suggest redefining the goal itself. Spooky23 on Jan 5, We should reduce full time employment to 30 hours. I would give higher preference to an employment opportunity that required less than full-time work.
But I haven't found any like that. If one person leaves the company suddenly, it allows for continuity of knowledge while a third person is hired and trained. Thirdly, multiple people bring multiple points of view, increasing the chances of serendipitous ideas and solutions, and increasing the potential benefit of using people's special skills or experience. Basically, the company is renting two brains for the price of one. There are some downsides too: The management overhead is higher equipment, legal, payroll, etc To use an incredibly bad analogy: It's like moving from a monolithic "big iron" server to a pair or farm of smaller ones.
There are many advantages, but it means it's now a distributed system with all the problems that can bring. The thing is that, as you noted yourself, the analogy doesn't hold, for people are not AWS servers waiting for charge or failovers. Black Friday period. Or, as I questioned, you might got two partly focused and perhaps less skilled people thinking about your problem, instead of someone more skilled totally focusing on it.
As was brought in another comment, if you got two freelancers, then yeah, you could pick two brains, but if you have two family guys, not so much. I think the analogy holds for the case of employees not having the capacity to give extra hours due to other commitments.
However, I totally agree that people aren't AWS servers, and the reason I felt the analogy was bad was that such a mechanistic view doesn't leave room for the multitude of positive, human ways of working around such problems. In other words, people can compromise and negotiate a settlement which is beneficial for all. I also don't think it's necessarily true that two part-time people would be less skilled or less focussed on work. It's the very point of the original article that working fewer hours can increase the quality and focus of the work done during that shorter period.
I've worked with many talented and exceptional "family guys" and family women who were skilled and totally focussed during working hours. I haven't noticed a correlation between people's priorities outside working hours and ability to do good work. To me, it depends on how you cut the hours, and to what extent. I'm all for working shorter days, eg. This is admittedly less of a concern if the person uses their free-time on related projects eg.
Interesting question. Not necessarily; as a lead developer, I just had an experience of a talented freelancer joining my project for 20 hours per week and helping with issues that we delegated to him so we can fit in the deadline. Freelancers often work part-time because they are more expensive, so they are not hired full-time, but they generally have many clients in the same week when they can. Moreover, they most often have some expertise in their field, which means they still devote quite a bit of time keeping up to date--they don't just spend their time with the kids.
What they can do, though, is taking several months off, either between contracts or when it is ok with their long-time clients. This can be effective in jobs where there is a labor shortage but not a labor surplus. Meaning, if you are applying for a job that other people are also applying for, you don't get to make these kinds of demands.
Whoever is hiring you will simply pass you over. However if you happen to be working a position requiring skill with a labor shortage they are having a hard time finding someone qualified to fill the position then you definitely could be in a position to negotiate for these things. I think this is why people would be inclined to making it law, there are a lot of jobs where the workers wouldn't have the leverage to affect this kind of change.
Laws are pretty important, actually. IIRC, in Slovenia, if you don't work 40 hour weeks, you'll have issues with retirement e. I think I covered these issues in my first point: you can do that, it's allowed, but it's just not comfortable to deviate from the norm right now. If by "comfortable" you mean "unprofitable" i. I've worked the standard ? Turns out that 20 wasn't quite enough so I ended up doing Looking back I think hours is about as efficient as I could have been as I gave the best hours of my day.
What do you mean by productivity?
But when it came to the last month before the release I found I did have to give some more time to get it done on time. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the controversial extradition bill that has led to mass protests in the city "is dead. Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein was ordered held without bail pending a July 15 detention hearing as he pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage Carrying boxes and envelopes containing personal effects and A4 forms, many Deutsche workers started their work week by emptying their desks.
Inspired by the U. Tokyo introduced new restrictions on Japanese exports to South Korea amid their own political disputes. Investors should be looking to buy emerging market currencies against the U. Stocks fell as losses in Apple shares pressured the tech sector. Investors also braced for key testimony from the top Fed official. Morgan analysts said on Monday that they expect Apple's iPhones to spur growth in unit sales, thanks to new modems and displays. Department of Health and Human Services Nearly half of U.
But e mployers should probably start politely declining the "free" gift, new research suggests. So-called "work martyrs" give hundreds of hours in free labor to their employers every year, encouraged by always-on gadgets, work through nights, weekends, and vacations. Trading sleep or fun for unpaid work is obviously a bad deal for employees, but there's a growing body of evidence that even apparently "free" labor might not be a good deal for employers, either.
Research that attempts to quantify the relationship between hours worked and productivity found that employee output falls sharply after a hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours, according to a study published last year by John Pencavel of Stanford University.
Longer hours have also been connected to absenteeism and employee turnover. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even has an entire website devoted to the effects of long working hours even if workers aren't paid for this extra time. It's not free, Pencavel points out. Read More You won't believe the perks some companies are offering. The idea that work hours can be cut without a drop in productivity should be good news for both American workers and their bosses, who routinely put in more hours than seem productive.
In a Gallup poll last year, 4 in 10 Americans said they work more than 50 hours every week, and 2 in 10 more than 60 hours. The average work week was 47 hours. Despite the research, don't expect Americans to be better about getting home for dinner any time soon. Not only are hours worked per week on the rise, but technology seems to be irresistibly driving the trend. A recent Pew survey found that 35 percent of adults say the Internet, email and cellphones have increased their hours worked.
For office workers, the number rises to 47 percent. Also contributing to this nonvirtuous cycle of overwork: Employees are trading sleep for work. A grant that scores two percentage points higher gets funding. And so on. Unfortunately, in most cases, we cannot know what would have happened if we had just added that one extra experiment to the paper or submitted the grant without that bit of preliminary data we we collected just before submission. It would be good if it were true: it would be a free lunch, but I just do not see that in the research.
I am happy to be corrected with the right citations, but do make sure that they address the points above. View all posts by luispedro. Excellent post! I would like to share with you that the real problem is presentialism is the problem as you have mentioned it in your post — people would likely contribute more if they are provided with the flexibility of working according to their body rhythms.
Each human peaks at different hours of the day. And being in the knowledge economy, it makes more sense to access these spikes of output by providing flexibility. Everyone would be happy contributing their share of work in return for a paycheck. It seems from your graph there is a single turning point at about 48 hours after which output stops increasing; but before that production increases even per hour.
Focusing on hourly and weekly timeframes misses the point. Policies on working hours are applied over decades and their effect on personal output should be considered over a similar timeframe e. Working lives. In the short term a person working hour weeks might produce a higher output but a combination of factors e. Counterproductive mistakes when tired, burnout and recovery time could make their output equal to or much lower in the long run than another person working hour weeks.
Sorry not a citation for a paper but it would be nice to see a longitudinal study exploring this. But 48 hours probably beats 40 hours. Would it be valid to undergo real scenarios to understand how on the same task, people perform with less and more work hours? For example, give designers a design task and run multiple design exercises, to understand who is more productive working with more or less time? Age, experience, working conditions, geography, personality, physiology, etc..
Is this what you care about? The first part of the article argues that empirical studies are not to be trusted. The second part of the article makes a point by using empirical data. So, which is which? That first graph devoid of any scale and based according to that other article supposed to explain it on your own subjective impressions is interesting, too. I argue that empirical studies should be interpreted carefully because of their limitations, but they are still informative.
My conclusion is not that confident. I think the burden of proof is on the other side, though, on those claiming that research is relevant. I love how you approach numbers and how you challenge them. It is a pleasure. Thank you for what you do. We should move away from measuring people by hours at work and change to a goals per week approach.
‘Miserable staff don't make money’: the firms that have switched to a four-day week
If someone finished their goals earlier then they can take the rest of the week off, as simple as that. I am wondering what the implications are for women with dependent children, who in Australia spend on average 44hours a week on unpaid household work 18 hrs more than men. How might you reconcile this with the productivity graphs you mention? Was this analysis on those in academia who work over 40 hours or those who work in Industry over 40 hours or both? Totally different animals…. Though not your main point, which I find quite convincing, I noticed another application of your graph.
It can be compared to the average life-cycle of a person throughout most of history. At some point, this peak productive period ends, and things start leveling off. This person can still produce more than those younger, but it takes more effort. For some, this is the time where they switch jobs or take early retirement. For others, it is the time where they hit a mid-life crisis as they panic and realize that the future is not going to be as easy or fulfilling as they had envisioned.
The body and the mind start to slow.
Related How To Become a Productive Machine In Less Than 48 Hours.
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