RE: 40-hour weeks (was Re: FWD: Lack...)

Subject: RE: 40-hour weeks (was Re: FWD: Lack...)
From: "Jim Morgan" <Jim -dot- Morgan -at- jdsu -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 11:51:01 -0700

Work-life balance is indeed a personal choice, but I'm not sure people
always ask themselves the right questions:

* Do I get as much sleep as I would like (quality and quantity)?
* Do I take have to take sick time for routine viral or bacterial
infections (colds and flu)?
* For those with a family: Do members express a desire to spend
more time with me?
* Do I feel like I have time to participate in recreational,
charitable and/or religious activities (ignoring the high-minded
reasons, studies prove that people doing so are happier and healthier)?
* Do I take my full allotment of vacation (again, the studies
* Are I regularly depressed, angry, rude, road-raged, or otherwise
showing behaviors I'd prefer not to have or others have commented on?
* Are I physically fit (proper diet and exercise)?
* Do I feel stressed?

If you choose to work more than 40 hours a week and your answer to all
of the above is "yes," I'd say you have a good balance for your needs
and interests. If not, chances are good that the extra work is a
significant factor (again, based on those studies). And each "no" answer
does not just affect the individual. In each case, a "no" will affect
other people around us or in society at large.

However, an organization that requires, encourages, or supports a large
group of people working more than 40 hours is guaranteeing itself lower
per-capita productivity, higher absenteeism, and higher turnover *over
the long term.* If nobody complains, in most cases it is out of fear for
their jobs or from peer pressure. Managers of such will do themselves
and their organizations (not to mention their employees) a favor by
getting training in formal project management per Project Management
Institute and putting it to work. The techniques will both improve the
ratio of output to overall labor costs and provide hard data to prove to
upper managers and customers when their demands are unrealistic.


Jim Morgan
Senior Technical Writer and Team Development Consultant
Seattle, WA

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