How many hours in the Working Week?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by WendyThompson, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. WendyThompson

    WendyThompson UKBF Contributor

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    I've just read an article about a US company which advocates a 5-hour workday for improved employee happiness and retention, more productivity and sales. That seems scarily low to me. How many hours do you ask or expect employees to work? What's the optimum number of hours in a working week?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: WendyThompson Member since: Mar 15, 2021
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  2. Newchodge

    Newchodge Contributor

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    The UK has a major issue of presenteeism. An employer may require an employee to be at work for 9 hours each day, 1 hour of which is an unpaid break. However that does not mean that the employee is working for 8 hours. There is a strong argument that the fewer hours people are required to work, the greater their productivity. There is a break-even point and 5 hours may well be it!
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
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  3. Mr D

    Mr D Contributor

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    It depends.
    If the employee wants to earn 5 hours a day income and work a 4 or 5 day week they can ask for it. Some employers may give it. However there is not a right to have that working day.

    May not be cost effective for the employee to earn say £700 a month net a month rather than over a grand but that is their choice. For some it will improve work life balance and they will be happier. For others it would make things worse.

    There are times a 5 hour day would be a bad idea. Project with deadline that must be met, a 10 hour day isn't out of the question. Giving such work to a person working a 5 hour day would be a disaster.
    For something else - say shop assistant - perhaps a 5 hour day could work. 9 till 2 perhaps then they can grab lunch on their way home or get lunch at home.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  4. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman Contributor

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    There is never going to be one answer to this question!

    I tend to push back against the idea that a long working week makes you a better person. But stipulating a shorter one, too, has it's down sides.

    Some people want to work more hours. And may do so. In some jobs, that will have safety implications (truck driving, for example). In others, it might result in less of an increase in outputs than people imagine.

    It's a great discussion point. But I always stop short of believing that ideas like this have a universally good outcome.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
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  5. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver Contributor

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    So maybe we should all only look to offer 25 hours work per week

    Maybe in the future that becomes the new life/work balance and people will find a way to make it work financially

    I don't doubt 25 hrs is going to be at least close to the break even point as you say above

    If people only had 25 hrs to work though would they just end up working 16 of those as they are in the habit of losing focus regardless

    Staff like to chat no matter what
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
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  6. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly Contributor

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    This story appeared on the BBC website today. Goldman Sachs Bankers ask for 80-hour week cap! Down from 91?:confused:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56452494
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
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  7. WendyThompson

    WendyThompson UKBF Contributor

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    Yes, I suspect the pandemic may have changed the thinking around office presence and productive hours of work for some businesses.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: WendyThompson Member since: Mar 15, 2021
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  8. WendyThompson

    WendyThompson UKBF Contributor

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    Very true, it's got to depend on the business and the individual employee to work out what works for them.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: WendyThompson Member since: Mar 15, 2021
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  9. Tigris

    Tigris Contributor

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    Heard of this in Finland I think it is and it did actually improve productivity (don't quote me on the country)
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Tigris Member since: Apr 30, 2018
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  10. Ozzy

    Ozzy Founder of UKBF UKBF Staff
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    I feel like such a trailblazer :po_O, several years ago and I cannot remember exactly how long ago, I had all my staff contracts amended to remove working hours and replaced with "7 hours of productivity" a day.
    I don't mind when you start, when you finish, or how long of a lunch break you take, or even how many breaks you take. I just expect my team to do 7 hours of productivity a day.

    ....although seeing this, starting to wonder if team may ask for 5 hours instead of 7 :D
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Ozzy Member since: Feb 9, 2003
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  11. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver Contributor

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    I guess that's why half of them are on cocaine
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
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  12. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver Contributor

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    Slave driver - you should be ashamed expecting so much from them!

    They must all be burnt out from the extra effort you are demanding!

    Lol
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
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  13. WendyThompson

    WendyThompson UKBF Contributor

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    Be afraid!! LOL! Seriously though, this is a very sensible 21st Century approach!
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: WendyThompson Member since: Mar 15, 2021
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  14. Ozzy

    Ozzy Founder of UKBF UKBF Staff
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    I know right! Next they'll be demanding paid holiday and sick pay!
    I blame the unions.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Ozzy Member since: Feb 9, 2003
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  15. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly Contributor

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    I sold advertising alongside a guy who was late most mornings, took extended lunch breaks, often went awol when out on calls, but was top salesman every year. A real character etc., but at 59 years old was incapable of working a full shift or to anyone else's clock but his own.
    Under pressure to conform from a wet behind the ears new boss he promised to try as long as he was allowed to sing a song whenever he sold something. 'Of course, she said... I hope to hear it lots'............ Like her predecessors she soon knew she had a battle on her hands as he hollered this out many times a day..:D

     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
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  16. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones Contributor

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    Long hours culture is a strange one - particularly prevalent in Japan & US - where the expectation to attend is far greater than the need to perform.

    Many years ago I worked for a company which expected us to be in the office until 6.00PM on a Friday (contracted hours were 9-5). You weren't expected to be working - feet on desk chatting about football was fine, you were just expected to be there - presumably to tickle the owner's ego.

    I didn't last long

    Obviously there are some roles - eg retail where physical attendance is critical. Otherwie, better to judge on stuff that actually matters.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
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  17. Mr D

    Mr D Contributor

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    Actual hours worked can be unusual. One of the team members on a project used to email me at 2am onwards regarding stuff.
    During the day she looks after her little boy and the work she's doing needs concentration. So night hours were her choice, doing an hour here or there while her boy had a daytime nap plus maybe 3 or 4 hours in middle of the night. Worked for her - but maybe not suitable where team interaction is needed a lot more.

    What people usually appear to mean when they talk about a shorter working week in general terms is the same income as now but a lot less hours.
    Can't see that being viable for most people unless productivity is improved.
    Whereas less hours worked for most of us means less income. Fine in a double income household - but may be totally impossible if the sole income person.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  18. japancool

    japancool Contributor

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    In Japan, a lot of it is down to the corporate culture - junior staff members are not supposed to leave work before the boss does.

    Mind you, if the boss wants to take you with him on a long lunch, you go, you smile and nod at his jokes or the pearls of wisdom that he gives you, then you come back into the office and finish all the things you could have been doing while on that lunch.
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: japancool Member since: Jul 11, 2013
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  19. Ozzy

    Ozzy Founder of UKBF UKBF Staff
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    I did some work in China a few years back, and it is similar there too. The line between private life and work life was very blurred, in fact I'm not sure there was a line :)
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: Ozzy Member since: Feb 9, 2003
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  20. japancool

    japancool Contributor

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    I remember watching this in action. I was sitting in the smoking room of a Tokyo restaurant, and these two poor salarymen were with their boss for lunch. They clearly didn't want to be there, but there was no way they could have said no. The boss was doing all the talking and the other two just sat there and agreed with him.

    They probably didn't even want to drink alcohol, given that it was the middle of the day, but if the boss is drinking, so do you!
     
    Posted: Mar 19, 2021 By: japancool Member since: Jul 11, 2013
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