Saturday, August 19, 2006

Improbable Working Hours

Somebody was commenting at work the other day that there was talk of reducing the standard work hours to a twenty-four hour working day.

I have to say, this is an excellent idea. I can't tell you the number of times I've come into work the following day several hours before I am due to leave work on the previous day, or departed work on the previous day several hours after I am due to leave for work on the following day. It's all very tiring, and it makes me feel as if I have to be in two places at once - or in the one place two times over, if those two times are at the same time and that place is not. Inevitably, the lunch hours are complicated, and they involve me organising not to go to lunch on the previous day at the same time as me arriving at work on the following day, and so on.

Inevitably, there will be opposition to this revolutionary new concept of the 24-hour working day from the Howard Government; but that is because they are evil; and they only make laws - not anything we are under any obligation to follow.
Following the announcement of the 24-hour working day, I await other great events: the running of the 30-second minute by an athletic tortoise, and the measuring of the two-mile metre, by an exceedingly pedantic cartographer.


Following the conversation at work, I had a think about it, and realised they were actually discussing the 24-hour working week. Now that's crazy talk!


Caz said...

This makes more sense than any IR laws of late. However, it must be noted that when the French cut the standard working week down to 32 hours (I think, or something like that), it turned out to be a bad idea, which (I think) they have subsequently had to reverse, somewhat. Not sure why it had a poor economic consequence, would need to look into it to understand.

The fact is, very few people actually perform "work" during more than a fraction of their paid hours. This has only deteriorated with the advent of emails and the Internet. People might like to believe that promptly responding to 55 emails in a day is contributing to business, or profitability, or that surfing the Internet for "research" is contributing to the sum total of knowledge and skill that they bring to the job, but it's all smoke and mirrors. And that's before we put a stop watch on the number of hours spent walking to and from printers, getting coffee, casual desk-side chats ("networking"), conference calls that achieve nothing, and so on and so on.

When all the waste is eliminated, all of the entirely illusionary "busy-ness", most office workers spend exactly two minutes and forty seconds each week performing the job they're being paid to do.

Imagine if everyone increased their work output to a whole 24 hrs a week - the economy would explode!

TimT said...

Yeah, but you don't have to say that out loud ...

People at work might be listening.

Kathy said...

Yes , you are as perceptive as usual Caz. I agree totally.
Having experienced this first hand . I know.
And as you say if productivity was increased what a boon that would be.
Perhaps the answer is to offer incentives to workers..

Like..... a carton of Carlton Cold for the first person to complete their designated work!!

Could be a winner eh!

What do ya reckon Timmy

TimT said...


Tastes/sounds good to me.

ras said...

My work consists of being interrupted constantly. However if i walk away from my desk and leave my cordless phone at my desk and basically disappear to another part of my office to do work, i get an amazing amount done.

Caz's info comes from a study in New Scientist this last week and then republished or reported in the icon/my career section of the Age/SMH.

In my last job i welcomed the distraction because my work was so boring and monotonous that any distraction was welcome. Now I love my job, most of the time, so the distractions are more than annoying.

I wouldnt like the 24 working week, i would never get anything done, i find it hard enough to get everything done as it is working 38 hours a week.

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