I have to say that one of my most well-read posts, ever, and one that I continue to take the most crap about, is What Would it Take to Get You to Work 80 Hours Per Week?
People actually take this post as a personal attack on their work ethic. So, I’m here to say – I still don’t believe you!
And now, I have research to back up how you don’t really work 80 hours in a week. This is from Fast Company and titled The Truth About How Much Workaholics Actually Work:
A study published in the June 2011 Monthly Labor Review that compared estimated work weeks with time diaries reported that people who claimed their “usual” work weeks were longer than 75 hours were off, on average, by about 25 hours. You can guess in which direction. Those who claimed that a “usual” work week was 65–74 hours were off by close to 20 hours. Those claiming a 55–64-hour work week were still about 10 hours north of the truth. Subtracting these errors, you can see that most people top out at fewer than 60 work hours per week.
Many professionals in so-called extreme jobs work about 45–55 hours a week. Those are numbers I can attest to from time logs I’ve seen over the years. I’ve given speeches at companies known for their sweatshop hours and had up-and-comers keep time logs for me. Their recorded weeks tend to hover around 60 hours – and that’s for focused, busy weeks with no half days, vacation days, or dentist appointments, and, most important, for weeks that people are willing to share with colleagues. We live in a competitive world, and boasting about the number of hours we work has become a way to demonstrate how devoted we are to our jobs.
That would be funny, except that numbers have consequences. If you think you’re working 80 hours per week, you’ll make different choices in your attempts to optimize them than if you know you usually work 55.”
It’s not about hours, but results
Look, I get you work hard and you work long, but I also get all of us think we work longer than we actually do! It’s not an attack – it’s just the truth.
The same goes for all of you out their working 40 hours per week, when you only have about 20 hours of work – you find ways to stretch 20 hours of work into 40 hours of pay!
Ultimately, we shouldn’t be talking about hours (damn unions!), we should be talking about results. I don’t care if you work 10 hours or 100 hours; I truly, only care about what you get done in that time. We still have too many leaders who worry about hours and watch and see who leaves “first” and who stays “late.” The reality is, it probably has no bearing at all on their performance – and if anything, probably has a negative influence.
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Results — set the desired result and manage to that. If you have those not meeting the result, then you manage that issue, which might include the need to work more hours!
I know, I know the girls from ROWE will love hearing this – and think they converted me – but they haven’t. While I really like ROWE, it still doesn’t work for every organization.
Ugh, please don’t let Cali and Jody see this!