Why the culture of working long hours is just plain stupid and a bad idea ?

I started my career in the early 90’s when software industry was just booming and there was a huge demand and workload for software professionals.

Co-incidentally, my father retired around the same time in a senior position and in the last few years of his job, I.T. systems were implemented. He was aware that implementing software systems will drastically reduce the workload of the staff and will allow them to spend more time with their family.

Unfortunately, my job required that I stayed up to 8 or 9 p.m. in order to deliver projects on time. He would often ask what is the reason, despite extensive usage of computers, people still have to stay back late at work.

While I understood that when project deadlines were approaching, it is understandable to stay back for few hours to complete projects, this can be avoided with realistic planning.

However, for many, it seems like it is a habit for them to stay back late, almost as if to prove their commitment for their employer.

It is even more unfortunate that many bosses consider their subordinates staying back late as an act of extra ordinary effort and passion for work. This is far from the truth.

If you analyze how they spend their entire day, it is usually wasted in unnecessary meetings, coffee breaks and gossips.

They never have a sense of urgency during day time. In fact, actually start their day at around 3 p.m and sometimes even wait for their boss to leave for the day.

Such people create an uneasiness among staff  who have children (especially young mum’s and even fathers) to look after and they often are efficient enough to finish their work on time.

For those who genuinely have to work long hours as work demands, especially technical and knowledge intensive work, must understand that in the long term it only causes you to burn out and does more harm than good.

Unfortunately, for those who have families and kids to look after, they have a constant fear that they will be replaced by younger and single employees who are more than willing to work long hours to keep their job and hence succumb to pressure – after all it is difficult for people in their mid-40’s to find another job.

Having worked in the I.T. industry, and as a project manager, I often found that 90% of the time unrealistic deadlines were set by stakeholders in business, who had no knowledge about what it takes to deliver complex technology projects.

Often, I would find that deadlines exist just to comply with a politically motivated stakeholder who has his/her own personal agenda more than the employer’s interest.

The ‘Management by fear’ culture does more long-term harm to the employee morale than good.

Just because staff fear for their job, it does not mean, you must exploit them. No employee has given her/his best out of fear.

When employers look after an employee’s long-term interest and their health and safety, they often have happy employees which results in customer satisfaction and ultimately reflects in the bottom line.

Hopefully, this simple fact will be understood someday.

I wish to write more on this subject – but will publish this anyway for the moment.


6 thoughts on “Why the culture of working long hours is just plain stupid and a bad idea ?

  1. I guess this culture will really be hard to change as more and more people are looking for work but opportunity are scarce. This gives those stakeholders the power to exploit as competition is tough. We are in a culture of rat race and same as you I hope things change. 🙂 Thank you for sharing a wonderful post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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