There’s A Really Good Reason You Should Be Leaving Work On Time Every Day

Life & Culture Editor
09.23.15 9 Comments
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You know when 5pm rolls around and your boss gives you “the eye” when you shut off your computer and waltz (or, you know, slouch off tiredly) out the door? Next time that happens, you can tell them something really important: workers who stay late are less likely to be productive. Just sitting at your desk isn’t going to make anything happen, and those of us who have ever procrastinated know, just because you’re there, doesn’t mean you’re working. (Sometimes you’re here, on Uproxx! Hi!)

The Guardian reports that today is “Go Home On Time Day” in the United Kingdom, which is a reminder to workers (all over the world) that clocking out when you’re supposed to be clocking out isn’t a crime—it’s a right. Of course, there are times when you’re going to need to work late (or have to come in on Saturday to file all those TPS reports), but on average, The Guardian points out, you should be out of that building and on your way to a delicious adult beverage pretty shortly after quitting time.

There is a lot of evidence that the number of hours worked does not equate to how much you are getting done. With the OECD countries above, there is a statistically significant negative relationship between the average hours worked and the amount of money made per hour worked. In other words, the countries with longer working hours tend to have less economically productive workers.

The US, which boasts a 35-hour work week (about 1789 hours, annually) is toward the middle of the pack when it comes to average time spent on the job. Workers in Mexico and Korea, who clock over 2,000 work hours per year, on average, are at the very top of the list. And then there’s France, which languishes towards the bottom, with workers putting in approximately 28-30 hours per week. But that doesn’t mean that workers aren’t productive.

From The Guardian:

The French work on average about 1,500 hours per year. Among OECD members only employees in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Denmark work fewer hours.

However, the number of hours worked tells only a partial story. At the other end of the OECD rankings, workers in Greece clock more than 2,000 hours a year on the job, but in terms of productivity the output of Greek workers generates far less value compared with most other European countries. By this measure, those slackers in France, the Netherlands and Denmark perform better than most other EU members, including Germany and Britain.

The choice is clear: either move to France or go home on time. Neither are bad options, but one’s definitely going to be a little bit easier. And if your boss asks, just tell them your productivity rate drops to a -2 after 5pm, which, for many of us, isn’t actually untrue.

(Via The Guardian)

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