# 8 hour workday? Is it really needed?

1. Nov 1, 2016

### Maylis

I find myself unable to be productive and focus 8 hours a day, even with a 1 hour lunch break. I know not every country has an 8 hour workday. Are there studies to show productivity over the course of a work day?

Is there any reason why the normal time to get out of work isn't 3 pm? If it was, that would definitely save a lot of money for parents who can pick up their children from school.

2. Nov 1, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Every company I have worked for had a 9 hour work day with an un-paid 1 hour lunch, standard hours were 8am to 5pm. Some did offer flex hours, which allowed you to come come in maybe at 6am and leave at 3pm, or take a 30 minute lunch, some allowed you to work at home, it's up to the company. Some companies allow shift work. It depends on what you do and with whom you need to interact. If you work in a factory, or in a 24 hour service department, it's more likely that you can get shift work. or split shifts.

3. Nov 1, 2016

### MarneMath

When I was a junior analyst, I felt the same way. I would often break my day up between work and self-education to handle it better. Now as an upper manager, 8 hours is hardly enough time to get my work done. I don't particularly care when my employees come and go. I do require them to be in by 10 am and stay until 4 p.m. The reason being is that I need to schedule meetings with them, and our clients. So I need a time frame that I can guarantee their presence. That's really the only reason why coming at 3pm is not acceptable for me.

Also, I let them work from home two days a week, so I like to think i'm pretty flexible.

4. Nov 1, 2016

### Psinter

There are and a lot.
Check if you can find it because I cannot , but I once saw a chart that established how 8 hour shifts could be more productive and make the person feel with energy and motivation to do their work. It had a lot of very small rests all across the day, at specified intervals. Which is exactly the opposite of what most bosses do. They just want you to strike the 8 hours in a continuum and leave.

Here is something regarding attention focus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3458879/

I think Experiment 3 could be more related to office-work than the others (in the kind of office-material attention focus sense).

This is just an example. There are many other studies like that. There was also one guy from the past (who is currently dead and was an abuser) who performed one experiment, but his goal was to find a scientific reason to exploit his workers even more (drain the last bit of juice out of them), not help them. I just can't remember his name, we discussed it in a sociology class once.

5. Nov 1, 2016

### Maylis

When I said 8 hour day, I meant 8am-5pm with a one hour break at noon to 1pm.

It's particularly bad after lunch, I just find myself dozing and wanting to sleep. Maybe the Spanish with siestas are on to something

6. Nov 1, 2016

### Psinter

(-.-) But that's normal. To feel sleepy ... I think...

7. Nov 1, 2016

### symbolipoint

When in the situations, one may need to work 9 or sometimes 10 hours in a day, with 8 being sometimes the minimum. One can not always get done with what is needed in only 8 hours work in the day.
Flex may mean different things in different places. It can very much mean, "you come to work when we schedule you", which might be only 4 or 5 hours this week, and maybe 4 or 8 hours two weeks later.

8. Nov 1, 2016

### Choppy

I think a lot is complicated by the fact that most positions are either hourly wage jobs or salaried with a "full time equivalent" measured against an eight hour day. If you suddenly told everyone that now they could work 6 hours per day, you likely wouldn't get that many takes because you're also asking them to take a 25% pay cut. A lot of companies would support the idea though, I suspect.

The alternative is to reimburse people based on productivity, but sometimes the metric can get tricky there, if any other metric can be applied at all. Do you really want to pay a waitress by pounds of food delivered to your table?

9. Nov 1, 2016

### symbolipoint

The first part is usually called "part-time". Some companies include enstaffment for part time positions.

10. Nov 2, 2016

### Kevin McHugh

As QC manager of a 24/360 facility, I was on call all the time. My typical workday was about 9 hours (10 if you include lunch). My longest day was 16 hours. I don't think I ever actually slept all night without at least one phone call in the middle of the night about some quality issue. So I guess it all depends on where you work. Some people's jobs could be done in less than 8 hours by a a productive worker. It's amazing how much time can be wasted in the work place.

11. Nov 2, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

It would save money, cost companies less money (paying employees less) and lower production output. Though not necessarily by the same amounts.

12. Nov 2, 2016

### Maylis

And that's where I wonder how productive employees are at the later parts of the day. Maybe many people would be better off working less and getting paid less.

13. Nov 2, 2016

Germany has a 36 or 37 hour work week, by law and consistently ranks the highest in productivity per worker. REFERENCE

There is also the issue that there are fewer jobs, and this trend will continue particularly for low skilled workers. While there have been a lot of discussions for a guaranteed Minimum income - the option to restrict work weeks to something 30 hours,could ensure more workers have access to an income. With the onset of self driving vehicles, we need to figure something out as the economic disruption of this will be staggering.

14. Nov 2, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Either I'm misreading your source's source or your source is misreading your source's source....or your source's source is poorly presenting the data from its source, because I'm seeing $56 per hour for the USA vs$49 for Germany.

That would mean both higher production per worker and per hour.

If productivity declines with hours, though, one would expect that fewer hours worked would result in higher productivity, but lower production.

Ok, I *think* I figured it out. Your source's source says "Productivity is
measured by Annual Hours Worked divided by Country GDP" (which is backwards),
but the graphic shows hours worked per worker next to a column titled
"Productivity" which is in fact per capita annual GDP in thousands of dollars
(wow!). [note: slightly different from world bank numbers:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD ]

So the production of the American worker is 14% higher than the
production of the German worker ($56000 vs$49000 per year), while the
productivity of the German worker is $49000/1400=$35 per hour while the
productivity of the American worker is \$31 per hour (13% higher).

The OECD, the original source of the data that went into all this, actually has
a graph for hourly productivity, which uses PPP GDP, resulting in only a 4%
higher productivity for German workers due to the adjustment for higher cost of
living:
https://data.oecd.org/lprdty/gdp-per-hour-worked.htm

Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
15. Nov 2, 2016

### gleem

This is anecdotal but have you noticed how much work is accomplished in the last hour of the work day? (Think Parkinson's Law) It seem to me that piece work I.e. pay for production is the most efficient method of using labor.. But not all jobs are production like store attendants or restaurant staff or other customer related jobs although these you minimize consistent with quality of service desired. Many of us are(were) hired to perform specified tasks which often had deadlines , if it took 8 hrs fine if it took 2 hours more power to you but after completion you just moved down the queue to the next task.

16. Nov 21, 2016

### Rubidium_71

I work a 10 hour day. Since a large part of my job is to make sure a production schedule is met, I value every person and every hour put in. It is also good for training to have employees that work eight hours.
That being said, I have no problem with working less (currently get up before 4am to go to work) as long as I still make as much money and the company wide production goals are adjusted to reflect a shorter working day.