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Old 02-23-2006, 06:45 PM   #1
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Americans work more, seem to accomplish less

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most U.S. workers say they feel rushed on the job, but they are getting less accomplished than a decade ago, according to newly released research.

Workers completed two-thirds of their work in an average day last year, down from about three-quarters in a 1994 study, according to research conducted for Day-Timers Inc., an East Texas, Pennsylvania-based maker of organizational products.

The biggest culprit is the technology that was supposed to make work quicker and easier, experts say.

"Technology has sped everything up and, by speeding everything up, it's slowed everything down, paradoxically," said John Challenger, chief executive of Chicago-based outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:51 PM   #2
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Maybe we need shorter work weeks and more vacation time. Paradoxically, it tends to make workers more productive, because they aren't so work fatigued, as a result.

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Old 02-23-2006, 07:10 PM   #3
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Companies that are flexible with workers' time and give workers the most control over their tasks tend to fare better against the sea of rising expectations, experts said.
I wonder what this looks like in practice. I can't really speak to what business environments are like, but certainly emails add vastly to the amount of time most academics today spend on consulting with students, colleagues and administrators--you tend to get drawn into far more things that you probably wouldn't have otherwise. And several of my older PoliSci colleagues have commented that keeping up on the news relevant to your specialization used to be much easier back in the days when it was a question of a relatively small handful of (physical) newspapers to skim. I don't know anyone who thinks grading essays online is faster.

Particularly when blue crack distractions are factored into the equation, I'm grateful to have a job where I don't have to accomplish all my work in a 9-5 timeframe. That enables me to make up the difference by sleeping less instead.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:16 PM   #4
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we reviewed labor statistics in a class i once took and workers from scandinavia (denmark specifically, if i recall correctly), though working fewer hours per week and enjoying more vacation time per year, had much higher rates of productivity than their american counterparts who spend much more of their lives at work.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:33 PM   #5
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We're just working too many hours and getting less done as a result. I know plenty of people who are working 12 hour shifts and that's too much.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:05 PM   #6
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Maybe workers feel rushed and aren't as productive because they're taking part in these stupid studies about how unproductive people are, taking them away from their real jobs and making them unproductive
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:09 PM   #7
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Originally posted by melon
Maybe we need shorter work weeks and more vacation time. Paradoxically, it tends to make workers more productive, because they aren't so work fatigued, as a result.

Melon
Ditto. When I think about the main reasons I go on Interference or do other personal stuff at work, it's usually when we're the MOST busy. Everything just becomes a big headache, dealing with people complaining about their computers to you over the phone from 8am to 5pm. I often say "screw it" and give myself some Interference time because I get so sick of it all and it's nice to see a world exists beyond the latest server crash or printing crisis. Luckily, my boss knows I have a tendency to internalize to the point where I just shut down, so he encourages my week-long spring break. Ironically, it's during this time that I spend the LEAST amount of time online/on Interference.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:10 PM   #8
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Originally posted by randhail
Maybe workers feel rushed and aren't as productive because they're taking part in these stupid studies about how unproductive people are, taking them away from their real jobs and making them unproductive
i'd imagine the studies are based on observation as opposed to active participation in some sort of testing paradigm. although... perhaps you are being entirely facetious.
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:42 AM   #9
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Amen to this thread! At my company we work 9/80 pay periods which is 80 hours in 9 days. We have every other Friday off. Altho it's a great schedule, the 9 plus hour days are gruelling. By that Friday off I'm exhausted and spend a lot of my Fridays sleeping or lounging around. I'm sick a lot more too and I know it is from over work and stress more so from when I worked 40 hour "normal" weeks.

I Agree that employees given more time off during the year perform better and will get more work done. I feel like I am spinning my wheels so many days. With meeting after meeting accomplishing little, and the fact I am constantly multi tasking AND interrupt driven. The interruptions are horrible! I can barely remember what it was I was working on when I got interrupted. So yea, bring on more vacation and personal days. I'm all for that cuz I KNOW it will make a huge difference with me.
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