Think about what your workday is made up of – a little work, a bit of Slack, some email, and the rest?
By the way, those stats don’t show everything else: Reddit, personal email, texting, etc.
That’s 2.6 hours per day, so let’s round it up to 3 hours per day with Reddit, personal email, etc.
If you add in a 1-hour lunch, that’s 4 hours per day of not work. That means employees are spending 20 hours per week working.
Why continue to have standard hours of 9-5?
Working 20 Hours Per Week
Stanford, a world-renowned college and research school, debunked that working more than 40 hours per week has a sharp decline in output.
Working 55 hours per week has such a decline in work that it’s utterly pointless. After around 45 hours per week, you’re essentially just mindlessly checking email, forgetting what the email said, and re-reading it 3-4 times.
The World Health Organization has proven that working more than 55 hours per week leads to an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% chance of dying from heart disease.
Here’s the kicker – it’s been proven by many large and small organizations that having impactful work makes people much happier. When humans have a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment instead of just living on Slack and email all day, they’re far happier. This makes for:
- Employees not quitting
- Employees are excited to come to work
- Employees not dealing with family issues (divorce, etc.) because they aren’t going home upset every day, which in turn, makes them want to stay and means they aren’t out for weeks at a time.
Meaningful work doesn’t mean being strapped to a desk 9-5. It means true autonomy, focus, deep work, and excitement about what they’re doing. When someone is truly focused, without distraction, they absolutely can get done in 3-4 hours what used to take them with a world full of distraction 8-9 hours (I’m living proof).
Meaningful work and having an impact are far more important than strapping an employee to a desk for hours. It not only is more productive for the employee but there’s more output, which means the employer is getting the best bang for their buck.
So, I ask you – is your life worth it? Is working for an employer that wants you to constantly work worth dying for? Especially if 3 hours spread across your workday is made up of social media?
Is staying in a constant flux of shallow work and feeling empty at the end of your workday worth the trouble?
Less Absolutely Does Mean More
Microsoft changed to a 4-day work week and productivity went up 40%.
I know, a lot of you are probably thinking no way, that’s probably BS, but think about it for a second.
Microsoft is a tech company. They aren’t a lifestyle company or a coaching company or a wellness company. They have absolutely nothing to gain from lying about this, nor do they have anything to gain from announcing it if they didn’t think it made sense.
Microsoft cares about one thing – productivity. Unfortunately, most employers lack caring about productivity.
They think that if everyone stays in the office 10 hours per day glued to their desk or if they work weekends, they’ll be more productive. It’s already been proven that this doesn’t work.
We, as humans, crave fulfillment. We crave having an impact. This isn’t just some dopamine hit, it’s true intrinsic happiness that comes from humans making an impact at their job, in their personal lives, for the world, and many other aspects of our life.
Because we’re humans, we also have a cognitive threshold each day. A study done by several researchers shows that we all have cognitive limits, whether that’s 2 hours per day of deep work or 4 hours. There are people that can stretch their cognitive abilities to say, 40 hours per week. However, after that week, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they aren’t doing much cognitively demanding work the following week. Why? Because their minds simply can’t handle it.
There’s a reason why famous people in cognitively demanding roles have certain workflows.
- They take 2-3 walks daily to clear their mind
- They stop working at a certain time
- They work in certain places with certain materials around them
People that are stretching the limits of their cognitive abilities aren’t just taking walks because they feel like it. It has a purpose.
What’s the purpose?
That our minds cannot, and should not, handle cognitive load a crazy amount of hours per week.
As mentioned in the section Working 20 Hours Per Week, your brain is essentially mush after 40 hours, so why not give yourself the break?
Happiness Of Employees
Our minds are very strange, yet exciting and powerful.
We have many egos – neurotic egos, healthy egos, unhealthy egos, and all of them have something in common. They’re all controlled by our mind, which 9 times out of 10 controls us.
Have you ever just had a thought and you’re not sure why you’re thinking that and feel bad about it? You obviously didn’t want to think it and feel bad, but you did.
Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, and when we’re happy, our neurotic egos are at bay. We don’t have any bad thoughts. We’re content with ourselves.
Believe it or not, a lot of that happiness does come from work, your surroundings at work, and who your manager is. We have to work in life, it’s that simple. There are very few percentages of people that either don’t have to work or don’t have to care about who they work with. People work roughly 4-5 days per week. That’s 71.4286% of your week that you’re going to work (not to be confused with the hours per day, that’s just the percentage of days you’re at work for X amount of time).
That’s a lot of time, so of course, a lot of feelings come from work.
Because of that, it should be the mission of every employer to ensure the happiness of their employees.
How does an employer get that output?
- Meaningful work
- Time spent on caring about output, not hours
After something like the 20-hour workweek is implemented, what changes? What improves?
A few things.
- Employees aren’t burnt out
- Employers no longer have a high turn-over rate
- Employees don’t feel like they need to take 6 weeks of vacation per year
- Employees take fewer sick days
- Employers stop getting sued
- Everyone’s happy and employees aren’t dying from work-related activity
Life gets better for managers, workers, and everyone feels far more fulfilled.
In this blog post I mentioned a lot of heavy subjects:
- Dying because you’re working too much
- Not being productive after 40 hours
- Doing less is, in fact, doing more
- Most of your day isn’t made up of quality work anyways
With all of the above, I ask you – does working more than 20 hours per week if you can get quality work out of it make sense?
If you can get all of your work done and it’s 100% efficient, impactful, and completed correctly, why do hours actually matter?