Working a lot of hours

 The number of hours people work has cropped up a couple of times in the past week so I thought I’d blog about it today.
Let me give you a few more details…
I’ve been running a 360 degree feedback programme for a customer of mine and, as part of the process, I deliver coaching sessions to talk through the report so recipients get as much as possible from them.
I was talking to a recipient of a report about the comments he’d received. One of the comments went something like this: XXXX (that isn’t his real name) works long hours and I feel that puts pressure on me to do the same, which isn’t really fair.
Or words to that effect.
To be entirely fair, balanced and impartial I suspect the comment was made by the same person who said ‘poor performance is not necessarily a bad thing… we can’t all be high performers’.
Hmmm… sometimes I think it’s a shame that I never see who writes these things.
Normally neither comment would have drawn my attention as much as it did this time round.  Coincidentally I was reading the BBC website the day before and came across a calculator which measured how hard you work (sorry, that’s not quite true – it measured how many hours you put in) compared to the average in your country.
So, I put in my weekly hours as instructed, doing it honestly I might add, entered my holidays and pressed the calculate button.
‘You work 1,162 hours more every year than the average worker in your country.’
What?
1,162 hours more…
Yes, yes I got that bit.
To put it another way, I work an extra 6 months compared to the average worker in the UK. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
To put it a third way, I should have every third week off to allow for the hours I do.
I have to say I don’t mind putting the hours in and I bet if the calculator was completed only by EB people I’d be much closer to the average, but I don’t want to get into the situation one manager found himself in.
He was very proud of how hard his team worked. He never left the office before 7.30pm and the team was always still there when he left.
One day he had to go to a meeting and left at 4.00pm, telling everyone he wouldn’t be back. The meeting didn’t last as long as expected so he went back to the office and arrived at 5.15. Ghost town. The team had gone home and it struck the boss that he must have created a real hell hole for his team to feel they had to stay so late to keep on his right side.
So, the next day, he got them all together and agreed that no-one was to be in the office later than 6, unless there was a very good reason that they had discussed with him first.
Guess what happened to productivity.
It went through the roof. Exactly the same amount of work was completed in a much shorter time period. The office was happier, staff turnover went down and profits went up.
May be the anonymous writer on the 360 report had a point?

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