FLORIDA, May 5, 2012 — In today’s unbelievably competitive business climate, many overachievers might try to put in a 60-hour workweek. Aside from the obvious problems associated with this, such as chronic sleep deprivation and the ever present possibility of a mental breakdown, choosing to go the extra several miles can only seem good come promotion time, right?
Well, perhaps. Each boss has his or her own perspective on that. However, is this a good idea for the company in question’s overall productivity?
Not according to Geoffrey James, a writer for Inc. Magazine.
He cite a slew of studies to back up his finding. The most interesting of these is a comprehensive report on labor output conducted by the Ford Motor Company during the mid-1920s. It concluded that it would be best for management and assemblymen alike if the workweek were capped at a total of 40 hours. Interestingly enough, an additional 20 hours did cause an immediate increase in productivity, but this vanished within the span of about three weeks.
The same data apply to modern working conditions.
What about the notion that
Writing that “in every case (he has) personally observed, the long hours result in work that must be scrapped or redone,” James goes on to state that, “nobody should be apologizing for leaving work at a reasonable hour like 5:30 p.m. In fact, people should be apologizing if they’re working too long each week — because it’s probably making the team less effective overall.”
It is hard to argue with the facts. Hopefully, a sizable number of managers, business owners, board members, and corporate presidents will get the message. Who knows? Perhaps one of the key aspects in the new American economy will be higher profits through a more rested, energized workforce. This just might be one of the few bright spots worth looking ahead to as the Great Recession rolls along.
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