Monday, July 6, 2015

Thank You for Your Time

I recently wrote a post (see Quick Hits 37) where I posed the following question:

If your employer gave you the option of working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-eight hour days, would you shift to a four-day work week?

I would imagine, given the choice, that a sizable number of folks would jump at this chance to have a 3-day weekend every single week. However, I bet big time cash money that if such a paradigm suddenly became the norm, our national productivity would take a sudden and appalling hit to its nether-regions and the U.S. GDP would go into the ter-let (as Archie Bunker used to say). Let's face it, most workers are paid to labor 40 hours a week. However, if you were to poke about a bit into how many hours most folks actually labor on job-related activities, I think you would find that the number of productive hours is significantly less than 40 per week. Based on my own recent casual observations of my co-workers, I came up with the following average estimates of non-productive time:
  • Gabbing about the coffee pot and complaining about who used up all the filters: 30 minutes per day
  • Searching out free cake; somebody always brings in free cake: 30 minutes per day
  • Complaining bitterly about your boss and his/her incompetence: 30 minutes per day
  • Cruising the internet for the latest sales and celebrity gossip: 1.5 hours per day
  • Running personal errands to the bank, the post office, or the cake store: 30 minutes per day
  • Stopping work because it is too close to lunch time to start anything: 30 minutes per day
  • Tasty lunch break and period to unwind from the myriad stresses of the day: 1.5 hours per day
  • Answering and sending your usual voluminous host of personal emails and texts: 1 hour per day
  • Arriving late to work because you just can't seem to respond to your shrill alarm: 30 minutes per day
  • Stopping work because it is too close to quitting time to start anything: 30 minutes per day
  • Leaving early from work because you have given your all and are fatigued: 30 minutes per day
If you total all of this up, that already is 8 hours of non-working time for each 8 hour day. If you are a smoker then add another hour for your cigarette breaks (smokers have always been over-achievers). Imagine if the work day was extended by another 2 hours. Most folks already just plain run out of steam shortly after lunch and just try from that point to cruise into the 5:00 p.m. hour so they can head home. Imagine if companies expected their workers to stay until 7:00 p.m.. I would then add three more lines items to my list:
  • Napping at one's desk: 1.5 hours per day
  • Cleaning up the drool from one's nap: 30 minutes per day
  • Complaining how tired you are from working so darned hard: 30 minutes per day
The U.S. GDP is estimated to be just about 17 trillion dollars per year. I would estimate, conservatively, that if we changed over to a 4-day work week, this would drop to about $17.48 per year, give or take a couple of bucks.