It's Time to End the 60-Hour Workweek

40 hours provides maximum productivity: Geoffrey James

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2012 8:07 AM CDT | Updated May 5, 2012 11:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Putting in a 60-hour workweek may look impressive—but it's probably not helping the company, or you. Plenty of studies back this up, writes Geoffrey James at Time, who points to a turn-of-the-20th-century analysis by Ford Motor Company that concluded the most productive number of weekly hours for workers was 40. Another 20 hours briefly increased productivity, but after just three to four weeks, it actually made workers less productive. The same is true of extended workweeks today, writes James.

"In every case I’ve observed, the long hours result in work that must be scrapped or redone," he notes. As for the fabled competitive edge that overworked countries have, he points out that six of the world's top 10 most competitive countries ban employers from requiring more than 48 hours a week from workers. It's time we started thinking like this, too—and if you need more convincing, consider the fact that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg leaves work at 5:30 everyday.

Working more than 40 hours a week may actually make us less productive.
Working more than 40 hours a week may actually make us less productive.   (Shutterstock)
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