Well, they didn’t say it that way, of course. But they did agree that working more doesn’t actually mean that more work gets done. Regular rest makes for more productive work:
…We have analyzed the working schedules of hundreds of executives and found that working harder and longer does not make them more productive. In fact, once a person passes a certain number of hours worked in a day, he or she actually becomes less productive. The mind dulls. The eyes gloss over. Focus strays.
You can only work so hard and do so much in a day. Everyone needs to rest and recharge. Unfortunately, too many corporate cultures encourage overwork. Managers drill it into their underlings, prodding them with dreams of cash and promotions. Many senior leaders at organizations work amazingly hard, but our research suggests that the most successful ones who last longer at the top also make considerable time to relax.
To get the most out of employees, companies need to let those employees be more efficient. How?
First off, most working days are incredibly inefficient. The 80-20 rule once again prevails: We have found that most executives waste 80% of the day and get most of their work done in the remaining 20%. For someone with an eight-hour workday, most gets done in just 96 minutes.
Companies should strongly recommend times for leaving work, so that executives don’t feel guilty going home even if their bosses are still working. Obviously, executives simply have to work longer hours sometimes. But if there are too many deadlines that keep people working late every night, you probably need to hire more staff.
Companies should also implement the No BlackBerry Rule after certain hours and on weekends. Being continuously connected seems great at first, but even one innocent e-mail on a Sunday morning stops a mind from truly resting.
Many top people do clue into the fact that working too hard just isn’t worth it. They leave businesses so they can be more productive and spend more time with their families–businesses they would have stayed at if they’d had more balanced lives there. One of the top reasons people quit companies is to find better work-life balance. That doesn’t mean such executives are lazy and don’t want to work hard. On the contrary, it means they want to work more productively and efficiently so they can enjoy life. Companies that have more flexible work arrangements that let executives catch their kids’ games or work from home while nursing tend to have the greatest employee loyalty and attract the best talent.
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