Productivity secret: The 40-hour work week

How many hours per week do you work?

In her compelling essay, Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity, AlterNet’s Sara Robinson lays out decades of research backing the 40-hour work week wisdom and discusses how a down economy and the “passion” of Silicon Valley helped us lose sight of these well-documented facts. She ultimately calls for the return of the 40-hour work week—not just as a route to better health, sanity, and productivity for all, but also as a way to create jobs, arguing that “[f]or every four Americans working a 50-hour week, every week, there’s one American who should have a full-time job, but doesn’t.” Robinson’s conclusion says it all:

For the good of our bodies, our families, our communities, the profitability of American companies, and the future of the country, this insanity has to stop. Working long days and weeks has been incontrovertibly proven to be the stupidest, most expensive way there is to get work done. Our bosses are depleting resources from of the human capital pool without replenishing them. They are taking time, energy, and resources that rightfully belong to us, and are part of our national common wealth.

Your turn: If you do work over 40 hours per week, why do you do so?

Special thanks to my colleague, Kathryn Burke-Howe, from Performance Development Group for referring me to this story.