Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Eight Hour Workday

Sometimes I just read something online that says something so perfectly, so well-researched, that rings so true, that I couldn't hope to add anything to it. So, I submit to you the following.
(credit to Cryponomicon for sending me the link)

An interesting discussion of the relation of the length of the workday and the work week as it applies to productiveness and quality. The ten-second summary: for more or less 100 years now, all the greats of organizational design have known that the 8 hour x 5 day work week produces the best level of productivity out of people for a large selection of activities.

Of course, he ties this in with the "ea_spouse" scandal, and how in many technology companies, the lessons of the past have been forgotten.

Read it, you'll enjoy it. Though I hope it does not ring too true for you.

I have to wonder... those 5 hours a night I often do... perhaps when I feel frustrated at my lack of productivity or ability to work through a problem, perhaps I'm just drunk on fatigue? It sure would explain a lot...


Anonymous said...

Productivity, for me, is exclusively linked to my interest in what I am doing - salary, short-term and long-term reward... all secondary or irrelevant.

I could hold a discourse on Nazi Germany for ten hours comfortably. I can't stand even twenty minutes of Canadian history without staring off into space.

Forget formulae - I think most people would agree that if they're motivated and interested, they can push themselves beyond normal tolerances. Works for my bodybuilding at least ;)

- The Irishman

Michael Jarrett said...

I think you might have missed the point.

The article doesn't argue that you can't be productive past eight hours in any one session. It argues that the regular use of these longer sessions will result in the benefits being diminished, to the point where enough consecutive days of overtime is actually less productive than not doing overtime at all.

Surely you can sympathise as a student - a day of hard studying works well, maybe even a second... you get three or four hard days of studying in a row, and you just can't work as effectively. Hence why frequent study breaks can actually make you study more effectively, despite them being "time away from studying".