How much should we work to be more efficient?
According to research conducted by EY, 46% of managers worldwide spend more than 40 hours a week at work, and 24% spend more than 50 hours a day at work. We work more and more driven by the need of acceptance by the boss, promotion, plan implementation and pay rise. However, even this bright perspective is not worth the overtime spent in the office, when we barely live because of fatigue, and the only thing we dream about is… a dream. Fatigue resulting from overwork significantly increases the number of mistakes made and strongly affects the decrease in our effectiveness. Every day, overwhelmed by the number of tasks to be done, we try to find many ways to work longer hours. We do find them, indeed. We ‘steal’ these missing hours from the time which should be spent on recovery, rest and sleep. Unfortunately, the truth is very inconvenient – such behavior is completely misguided. We would be much more effective if we could afford to sleep undisturbed for at least 6 or 7 hours. Overwork can be accepted when we realize that such a state is transitional, short-term and will soon elapse – in this case, staying in the office for a few consecutive hours is not such a bad idea, because it can help us achieve better results. It is much worse if being overworked is a long-term perspective and we do not even see a chance of change for the better in the foreseeable future. Then we have a high probability that constant fatigue will affect not only our efficiency and performance, but also … motivation.
After 9 hours of work, each subsequent hour brings us hardly perceptible benefits. We are distracted, tired, and our mood drastically deteriorates. However, if we set ourselves a goal of continuous work at maximum efficiency, then even … 8 hours a day is too much! We are able to work about 7 hours a day at the maximum efficiency – that is what research and the practice shows. Some studies also suggest that the upper limit, when it comes to mental work, is 35 hours per week. Considering that 69% of us wastes 30 – 60 minutes daily on drinking coffee, listening to music or talking to colleagues, a 40-hour workweek is quite an optimal solution.