It’s fairly normal today for people to work more than the standard 40 hours a week. In past years, you would go to work at 9, be off at 5, and then have the rest of the hours to do whatever you wanted. It’s become normal in our culture, however, for people to work longer than this, sometimes by as much as double!
Not only are work days longer now than they ever have been before, many of us are expected to “take work home” with us, which never used to be a thing. This involves being on call, answering work emails from home, and potentially even having to do work from home, outside of your scheduled hours.
The pressure to work long hours
Our culture is changing and with jobs hard to come by for many people, employees are afraid that if they don’t work these extra or longer hours, their employers will find someone who will. This has led to a cultural shift over the last few years in which people are expected to work much more than ever before.
Dealing with work-related things for nearly half of your entire week isn’t just an annoyance or a cramp in our style; it is actually killing us. First of all, this culture of working a crazy amount of hours is ruining our sleeping schedules. Getting the recommended amount of 7-8 hours of sleep is nearly impossible for most people. Between eating, commuting to work, actually working, and other things, there is hardly enough time in the day to get enough sleep.
And if you do manage to get a full night’s sleep, it often comes from neglecting family and social life. Neglecting your this places strains on relationships, and can make it feel like you are essentially living to work, which isn’t a good feeling to have at all. You need escapes and breaks, some time for yourself, but that’s hard to do that if all you do is work, eat, drive to work, and sleep.
Long hours kill productivity
Another way that this culture of working long hours is by overworking us. If someone works 12 hours or more every day, there is a very low chance that all of those hours are productive. Many of us get fatigued, stressed, and tired from working all day every day, which will negatively affect our performance on the job. So in addition to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, an increased rate of suicide and much more, these longer hours actually work against the work that we’re trying to get done.
You would think this would be enough for both employees and employers to reconsider the value of this workload, but alas, here we are with many of us still working incredibly long hours with no sign of that stopping soon.
One big thing that can help prevent this overscheduling and overworking employees is scheduling better. Many companies still use pen and paper to schedule employees, and that can make it very easy to miss or forget certain things. Instead, use a tool to help you keep track of scheduling and ensure everything is done correctly. If you are interested in checking out a quality scheduling software, check out Online Employee Scheduling Software – Humanity
Of course another way of addressing this stress and strain is to consider more remote work. When employees are able to work remotely, many of the stressors mentioned above are reduced or even eliminated (in the case of time commuting). The flexibility of remote work allows employees to focus more on the jobs at hand without much of the outside “noise” that can contribute to productivity loss and burnout.
In conclusion, while working a long shift here or there when needed is fine, we need to stop this cultural ideology that working 60-80 hours a week is normal. If that continues to be the norm, employee satisfaction and productivity is going to plummet, and the health and mindset of employees everywhere is going to continue to dwindle.
For more on leading remote teams, make sure to check out The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.
About the author:
Wendy Dessler, Outreach manager
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.