WSJ reported recently that the 40-hour week is a thing of the past. Did you need the WSJ to tell you that? According to the report, 58% of U.S. managers reported working more than 40 hours a week. The only country to report a higher percentage of manager working more than 40-hours is our neighbor to the south, Mexico.
The article mentions the role of technology in this trend. It’s a double edge sword. While it allows us more flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, it also prevents us from ever being able to completely disconnect. If we don’t get to those emails before we leave the office, we can do them after dinner or over the weekend. No need to wait until we’re in the office to review that presentation, we can download it on our phone.
A question this finding raises for me is, how are we spending our time? Have our jobs changed in such a way that more hours are needed or are we consumed by tasks that aren’t adding much value anyway?
For example, I think we’ve all spent endless hours emptying our inboxes of emails that we’ve been politely copied on so that we can ‘stay in the loop.’ Do we spend too much time composing texts or emails focused on interpersonal transactions that simply move the ball down the field a littler further or are we developing real work relationships that allow us to collaborate, innovate and create significant breakthroughs that really make a difference for our customers, our people or our organizations?