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Working Longer Hours Won’t Make You More Productive

By Jacob Shriar | Small Business

The average adult in the US works 47 hours a week.

This is according to recent data from Gallup, and it’s actually not a smart idea at all. I’ll show you in this post why overworking does so much damage to both your physical and mental health.

Working Longer Hours Won’t Make You More Productive image Screen Shot 2014 10 21 at 12.04.03 PM.png 600x408Working Longer Hours Won’t Make You More Productive

Looking at this data, you can see that 50% of adults work more than 40 hours per week, and 18% work more than 60 hours per week! That’s nuts!

Our culture really needs to learn to appreciate not working so hard. Here are some of our thoughts behind working longer hours, and its effects on productivity:

It’s okay to spend time with family, it’s okay to relax and do nothing.

I’m reminded of this idiotic ad for Cadillac about working yourself into the ground. I really hate this commercial:

The agency that came up with the ad is really portraying an awful message to Americans about how you should work. I think this is the total wrong idea, and luckily, Ford came back with a response ad that was very well done.

I’ve written before about 4 day workweeks, and how there are many successful companies encouraging their employees to work less.

The trick, is working smarter, not harder.

I’d recommend running an employee engagement survey, and asking your employees if they feel like they work too much, how their energy levels are, etc. Look at the data, and find employees that are putting in too many hours, and tell them to go home!

Working Longer Is Bad For Your Health

If you’re against giving your employees a little bit of time off, and you love the feeling of them working 40 or more hours, and not a minute less, let me show you some data.

If you’re trying to make a case with colleagues or other higher-ups, use this data to back you up.

  • According to research, working longer hours increases your risk of depression
  • All that time spent sitting at work is doing massive damage to your body
  • People who work longer report sleeping less, which obviously has massive effects on your health
  • Working 10 or more hours per day leads to a 60% increase in risk of cardiovascular problems

Working Longer Is Bad For Your Productivity

In a five-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, participants completed different tests to measure things like intelligence, verbal recall, and vocabulary. Compared to those who worked 40 hours per week, those who worked 55 hours per week showed poorer vocabulary and reasoning.

Paying hourly workers to stick around once they’ve put in their weekly 40 is basically nothing more than a stupid and abusive way to burn up profits. Let ‘em go home, rest up and come back on Monday. It’s better for everybody. – Sara Robinson

A 2009 study found that when you work long hours, your cognitive skills start to decrease.

A paper released by the International Labor Organization found that the more hours you put in, the less productive you are, and most of the work that you do needs to be corrected and edited again once you’re done.

Work-Life Balance

The answer to all of this of course is to have a good work-life balance.

Employers need to be encouraging their employees to relax, and take time to recharge. There is a lot of science that shows the brain needs downtime to recharge its batteries, and come back fresh for work.

Employee burnout is an obvious problem with all of this, and will cost companies time, money, and emotional pain (drop in morale, engagement, etc).

Workers that have flexible schedules have been shown to be more engaged at work, and even without looking at data, this makes obvious sense.

Basically, when they have balance workers have more time to get things done, run errands, and not worry too much about getting in trouble from their boss.

Your Turn: How Many Hours Do You Work In A Week?

Do you really think that working longer hours will make you more productive? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Working Longer Hours Won’t Make You More Productive

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