If you’ve settled into a full time job you’ll already be aware of a very important aspect; how many hours a week you’re required to work. It varies from person to person, but either way it has an enormous impact on life. After all; your job is what you’ll be spending most of your time doing. But would it shock you to know that in some countries a 26.5 work hour week is normal?
A slap in the face to those who are used to 40-hour work weeks, for sure. But does this then mean that the Netherlands, where this statistic is true, has a very unproductive work force? Interestingly, this does not seem to be the case. At least, this is true, depending on whom you’re talking too.
Working Hours Globally
If taking a brief look at the world in general, there are a few strong trends that can be seen as far as working hours are concerned. Overwhelmingly, Asian countries have the highest working hour expectations. The United States is not as high on the charts as some may anticipate, coming in after a number of European countries, where working hour expectations are higher.
The trend seems to be that Western European countries have higher working hours than Eastern. The Netherlands, as already said, has the lower average working hours, as does Italy, France and Belgium. An unexpected statistic, perhaps, but one that some researchers are looking at with interest.
9 To 5 Is So Yesterday
The expectation of most who are entering the workplace, at least in most parts of the world, is that they will be expected to work 9 to 5. It’s not an unreasonable expectation, given that most jobs do indeed work under these basic guidelines. But, more than ever, many are claiming that 9 to 5 is simply the starting point.
In a study in the United States many students agreed that, upon entering into a new job, working beyond 9 to 5 might be expected of them. That is, if they want to get ahead in their chosen career. Working beyond 9 to 5 is common for those who are really looking to get ahead, and make waves in a new work environment. This leaves little to no time for other activities, but thankfully, with things like online casinos and e-commerce sites that deliver groceries, life is a little bit easier to manage, even if we work 12 or 14-hour days. But do more work hours really mean more productivity?
A Balanced Approach Is Best
Amazon recently made an announcement, one that made many sit up and take notice. The idea at Amazon was to offer employees the option to accept only 75% of their salaries, plus full benefits, and in return, work only 30 hours a week. The idea behind the experiment was to see if people were, in fact, more productive working less hours a week. The results of this experiments are not yet known, but the principal of the experiment is backed up by researchers everywhere; longer hours do not necessarily mean better results.
In general, it is largely agreed that a good balance must be found between career and private time. The number of hours a person should put in will, obviously, vary depending on the job in question. But a good rule of thumb is that putting in more hours does not always result in better outcomes, as already said. And, in fact, it can often be detrimental to a career when a person overexerts, attempting to perform well when also deeply fatigued.
Planning Your Work Hours
It is up to the individual to decide their own work hours in many cases, and the correct approach is to assign work hours and private hours, and stick to them, above all else. Many successful businessmen have stated that family life and career life should always be kept separate, with enough time being made for each. Being too committed to work can drastically impact family life, but can the same likewise be true?
Naturally, a person should commit to their employment, but are the hours put in beyond 9 to 5 the ones that will make or break a career? It is, once again, up to the individual and specific employment to make that decision. But serious thought should be put into whether those hours could be worked in more effectively the following day.