How many hours should employees expect to work per week? According to Jason Fried of Basecamp, 40 hours per week is more than enough. There are countless studies that have found that employees working more than 40 hours per week on a sustained basis see their productivity dwindle. I would expect that it is also a leading cause of burnout of employees.
Who wants a workforce of overworked, burnt out, and tired employees that keep seeing their performance dwindle over time? Instead, I’d much prefer a well-rested and well-rounded workforce that is able to maintain their performance over the long haul.
When you work 40 hours per week, it gives employees an opportunity to pursue other hobbies or passions or more time with the family. Many times, this time away re-energizes the employees, as for many knowledge workers, problems are solved when they are actively doing something other than a work activity. I know for certain that some of the hardest work problems that I’ve faced without making much progress against were taken care of with a quick epiphany while playing with my kids, or working in the yard.
Employers, staff your companies and set your expectations in a way that your employees can get their job done in 40 hours and not have to live at the office to barely meet expectations.