A recent survey of executives, managers and professionals (EMPs) found that their average work-week was 72 hours.
But a blog post (HBR.org) that analyzed the study really hit on something amazing. It wasn’t the hours that bothered people. It was working inefficiently. Here’s a snippet:
But it’s not the connectedness itself that bothers EMPs; in fact, in many cases they appreciate it. One EMP described getting an urgent work request via her personal smartphone while she was on vacation but said she was happy to handle it because it took her two minutes, compared to the hour it might have taken another person. She cares about her work and her colleagues and wants to save others time and trouble, wherever she is.
What does bother EMPs is when companies use 24-7 connectedness to compensate for organizational inefficiencies and when it significantly undermines their personal lives, productivity, creativity, and ability to think strategically. The complaints we heard most often (from at least three-quarters and as high as 96% of respondents) centered on useless meetings and emails, inadequate technology, disorganized or incompetent C-suites, and unclear decision-making authority.
Please allow me to translate this. People don’t mind working hard. They don’t mind working long. They just hate working “stupid.” I think this is wonderful news. People are willing to put in the hard work. But the flip side is not great – most workplaces don’t think that they work efficiently.
The study goes into great detail on what drives professionals, managers and executives crazy, and I think it is well worth your while to read it. It is a road map of issues to avoid at all costs. And it is a great way to peer into the minds of the people you manage.