Want Increased Productivity?
Work less! That's the message of this piece in FastCompany. Author David Roberts explains that the American culture of overworked, overstressed employees produces less productivity per work hour than other countries with work weeks of 35 hours or less. Citing France and Norway as examples, Roberts argues that Americans waste time during their long workdays. That means they could be working smarter instead, and spending that extra time at home with their families or out doing things they love to do.
Roberts also ties American overwork with overuse of the world's resources. When we're tired and cranky, we don't have much energy left to take care of our environment, he says, because it takes time and energy to recycle, walk or take public transportation, bring our own lunches in reusable containers, etc. So we give up and trudge along with our big carbon footprints.
The article ends with a gloomy picture of how the work would look if all countries acted like the US. But I prefer to think of the opposite. What would the world look like if we could all slow down, work less and do more of what we love? What if we could achieve maximum productivity at our jobs and balance in our lives overall. And we'd be doing a great thing for the environment!
Roberts says that back in 1956, Nixon predicted that we'd soon see a 4-day work week (32 hours/week). So far, most of us are still waiting. But what if....
p.s. Hat tip to Cindy Goodman's Work/Life Balancing Act column for covering this article.