“Productivity – the amount of output delivered per hour of work in the economy – is often viewed as the engine of progress in modern capitalist economies. Output is everything. Time is money. The quest for increased productivity occupies reams of academic literature and haunts the waking hours of C.E.O.s and finance ministers.” Tim Jackson
It’s worth a look to examine our hours vs. output mentality.
The world we grew up in said eight hours was a workday. But that was only since Henry Ford went against business protocol in 1926 by cutting his workers’ days down from 10 hours.
He was criticized by the National Association of Manufacturers, as this was rocking the conventional boat. Yet, remember, he didn’t do it to be nice.
Ford had studied the effects of an eight-hour workday and a five-day workweek (vs. the six-day workweek, then the norm) and knew it increased productivity and lowered production costs.
A wise man. Nearly a century’s worth of studies later, following his unheard of proposition, every industry that has been studied has shown that maximum productivity occurs according to this schedule.
Another wise man in the gaming software development world, Evan Robinson, brought up this point several years ago to counter the tendency of having programmers crunch through projects by working ungodly hours. Robinson claimed that keeping programmers to the tried and true was just smart business due to more creativity and less mistakes.
Yet, how many of us can claim that our external (if employed) or internal (if unemployed or self-employed), stop-watch-wielding timekeeper, counting down our dutiful allotment knows what’s best? Face it, are we truly productive for eight hours a day??
The century of research may not take into account work involving the brain, decision-making, analysis, or creativity. Many cutting edge companies already realize this. If not associated with one of those innovative organizations, generally our internal and external programming (the voice in the head) demands us to put in the requisite time to, if necessary, squeeze productivity blood out of the turnip.
It may behoove those of us blessed to be off of the factory floor to re-examine our old “work” day and “work” week programming.
Even if in a standard 40-hour/week role, perhaps seeing how we can “manage up” to prove our own productivity pattern to the powers that be could serve us.
If we’re self-employed, it just comes down to having that power-that-be (ourselves) wake up and smell the coffee that hours doesn’t necessarily equate to more profits. Matter of fact, overwork over time actually results in what economists call diminishing returns.
Either way, I have a bold idea that hours and work become a background conversation when real passion is present.
Got passionate productivity?
“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” –Franz Kafka
DARRELL W. GURNEY, Executive/ Career Coach and 20-year recruiting veteran, supports people at all levels to make fulfilling and profitable career transitions. His first book, Headhunters Revealed! Career Secrets for Choosing and Using Professional Recruiters, was winner of the Clarion Award for Best Book by the Association for Women in Communications and was reviewed in Publishers Weekly. His newest book, Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest, has been endorsed by bestselling thought leaders such as Harvey Mackay, Keith Ferrazzi, and Dr. Ivan Misner. A personal and business brand strategist, Darrell’s Stealth Method of networking has helped folks expand their reach within both careers and new client circles. He speaks, leads workshops, and is a media expert on subjects such as recruiting, networking, and finding one’s passion. He was recently named Networking Expert for BeyondB-School.com and offers webinars and programs that get MBA students and working professionals out, connected, and landed.