At Happy, if we find somebody working long hours, we try to work with them to reduce them. It may be the result of a heavy workload but it is as likely to be the result of working less effectively than they could. For myself, if I know I'm going to be at work until 8pm I work with a lot less urgency than if I know I have to leave by 5pm.
Salina Gani, Learning & Development Manager at Paul (the bakery chain), backed up this view when I met her last week. "The most productive time of my life has been the time I've worked less hours", she explained. I used to feel guilty if I left at 6.30, and that was my official leave time. I worked long hours and it made me ill."
"What changed? A new manager who didn't expect those hours. My job is to identify my workload and get it done. I manage my own time. I'm happier, I'm less stressed and I just get more done. My manager says I do the equivalent of several times what she's seen others do at other firms."
The same is true of me. Before we had children my wife was completing an MBA and I worked long hours - and was in the office most Sundays. When our first baby was born, I cut back my working time by around 2 hours a day - and cut the Sundays, to be at home with the baby. But the remarkable thing was, I didn't seem to get any less done. I was simply more focused and effective, knowing that I couldn't just catch up that evening.
Do you, or your colleagues, work longer hours than you would like? is it because you really need to, because its expected at work, or simply because you've got into the habit of it? What would happen if you cut back and did something that you enjoyed and revitalised you?
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