CFN – I read an interesting article yesterday regarding the amount of time that people spend at the office or working after hours at home. It stated that nearly two-thirds of U.S. companies report that their employees have worked more hours over the past three years. It is likely that there are similar percentages in other countries – like Canada. It goes on the say that
“This growing trend is predicted to continue. An unintended consequence of our global, connected world is that customers, clients, partners, and colleagues expect immediate responses to their demands. At the same time, jobs are in short supply in many fields, so nobody wants to disappoint. As a result, more employees are putting in longer hours, and many regularly face the dilemma of whether to stay late and finish a critical task or put it aside until the next day. But once you begin expanding your work hours on a regular basis, working “normal” hours starts to look like slacking off. In other words, if you establish a pattern of staying late, your extended hours become the new normal”.
Confession Time: I used to be the first person to arrive in the office and the last one to leave. I worked from 7AM to 7PM and beyond. I worked on my weekends. Why? There was always more work to be done. Finish one task, start another. Demonstrate loyalty and commitment, be a team player, be very productive, get that promotion, make more money and the list went on. But there was a cost: to my health, my family and my social life.
How did others view me? By working such long hours, what were the unconscious messages that I was sending? Was I unorganized? Did I spend too much time socializing with colleagues? Was I not capable or knowledgeable enough in my role? Was I making my staff feel guilty when they went home on time? Did I not care enough about my family?
If you find yourself working long hours on a sustained basis, these are good questions to ask yourself. Remember that if you don’t take conscious control of your own work hours, the work hours can easily take control of you.
Let’s open a discussion. What are your experiences? Are extended hours the new norm?
Sue McConville and Associates
P.O. Box 686, Ingleside Ontario K0C1M0
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