Productivity slumps after 40-50 hours of work a week


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The rest of the World figured that out 50 years ago, time to push for a 4 day workweek, not a 5 day “slaveweek”.


50? A Dutch law from 1919 limited work to 8 hours a day and 45 per week. That’s almost 100 years ago.

These days I refuse to work more than 32 hours, and the average Dutch work week is apparently 29 hours. If we don’t get more free time out of our tech-induced increased productivity, then what’s the point of increasing our productivity? Work should serve us, not the other way around.


WTF!? So all those commies, socialists, and anarchists who fought and died for a shorter workweek from the mid-1800s onward had nothing to do with it?


No shit?

Someone tell the yobs over at Amazon that- they seem to have lost the plot somewhat…


[ETA - changed link from amazon to Good reads!]


Yeah even though I am exempt my direct mangers and leads really understood this. With a big enough team (and you should have a big group for 9K+ servers, cause even with whatever extra 9s you add to the uptime stat the math says something is b0rk3d every day) you can tell the on call guy to fill in the day shift and let them go get sleep. I once heard my lead actually chew out a coworker for being online and doing stuff after putting in 50ish hours as it was his oncall shift… If it needed to be done there are others on the team do it. Being tired means making mistakes and that means impacting the end users even more and possibly a financial penalty.


Not just Amazon. I’m willing to bet a large majority of American managers and executives do not believe these numbers. Doctrine trumps science.


‘Murica! Science don’t count for nuthin’ here!


Can’t help pointing out the irony of your recommending that book (which looks excellent) with a link to Amazon. :laughing:


Ha! That’s true… I should change it to a link from the publisher instead, huh. [ETA - better yet, I changed it to good reads]


Yeah. It’s a tough call for me when I do that. It sucks to support The Beast, but then, if it’s an item that I want to support and I really think it’s possible my link will lead to someone buying it, it seems that they’re more likely to do so from Amazon. Urrrggh.


There is only one solution!!!




The logic seems to be that since work quality is reduced with time, you either have to reduce the amount of time that you expect people to work or make your workers so expendable that replacing burned-out workers is just part of the normal running. This way you get the short-term benefits, while having quotas and unstable working conditions means that the costs of this strategy aren’t borne by the employer.


I think you just defined that increasingly familiar thing, “precarity.” AKA, copious goodies for the masters, exhaustion and nervewracking insecurity for the rest of us (those of us, that is, who can even find work).


This is historically untrue. While Ford did implement the 40 hour work week in his factories, labour unions had been fighting for this since the early 19th century and were starting to win reduced working hours for no loss in pay at this time. And with the collapse of organized labour, the length of the work week has begun to increase. While productivity does decrease as long work hours exhaust people, they still mean increased total output, which is why business has historically opposed shortening the work day. This explains why even with all the technological productivity improvements over the decades, business has not moved to shorten work hours since the 40 hour work week was enshrined in law in 1937.


There was an interesting article about this today on the BBC, particularly relating to the ‘rank and yank’ style of business management:


Whose productivity? Wouldn’t it have been more productive to stick with public transportation and regulate against urban sprawl?


the whole force ‘we don’t care if you all did good jobs’ x% have to be does not meet has not gone over well where I work, even the managers had a fit cause the contract I am on if you are does not meet then you are out in 2 weeks.