February 27, 2009
Is this really a surprise? Read the article and come back if you want, but I bet 4-5 hours a day is about right in most jobs, IT or otherwise. But it all depends, doesn’t it? Do you work reactively, like a call-taker on a helpdesk or in a retail sales job? Are you still “working” when you are waiting for the next caller or customer? Do you “look busy” or start doing some online education or other admin during that downtime? Is that still “work”?
Given that most people take lunch and 2 coffee breaks – at least – and a couple of stretches to ease the RSI, plus a walk or 2 to do “something different”, plus the odd snippet of gossip time, the reasonably standard 8 hour day is in fact more like 6 and a half at best. I have no survey to prove it, but it seems logical.
Yes, there are career-minded people who want to impress, and workaholics who just love what they do and tend to keep working beyond that “standard”. And small business people who need to keep running in order to keep afloat. There are also badly organised people who travel and schedule poorly (perhaps because they like travelling more than scheduling or working?) and waste their working day at airports, in planes or on the road. Is a ‘road warrior’ working when they are driving to the next client? Do executives count airport time as “work”?
I’m sure there are construction workers who are “observed” all day and lack the opportunities to “skive off” that office workers do. But from my own observations I tend to suspect that the number of people who Tweet and update their facebook pages during so-called working hours probably balances out the “compelled” or micro-managed worker. Mind you, whilst I may be writing this when I “should” be working, I also have been known to wake at 3am and start working just because I can… so perhaps we shouldn’t stress about the hours and just look at the output instead?