04 May, 2017 | 81 views

Long Working Hours

My friend, a retired Software Director, told me an interesting story the other evening about the project managers that used to work for him.

He told me of all the project managers that worked at his company, of which there were many, all but one worked long hours. Many arriving into work at 7.30am and leaving well after 7pm. Many times not having time for breaks or lunch. One particular project manager - the exception to the rule, would arrive at work spot on 9am and leave bang on 5pm, taking his full lunch hour.

The interesting part of this story is that only one of the project managers had a one hundred percent record of getting projects completed successfully on time. You guessed it - it was the project manager that started at 9am and finished at 5pm.

Ah, you say - but his projects were probably not as big or as complex as the others? And that’s just what I asked. But over those twenty years they all worked on a mixture of projects, of varying scales and complexities. Maybe he was more qualified than the others? Not really - they were all of a similar calibre. My friend finished by telling me, he thought this particular project manager was better organised, more focused and applied himself with a better discipline and usage of his time. Basically the time he had, he used better than the others. Starting at 9am meant starting his work at 9am. It didn't mean going to the coffee machine or talking about last night's football results at great length. He organised meetings with a definite purpose and only when needed, as opposed to scheduling regular weekly meetings. His chats with colleagues were friendly but limited in duration.

This made me think that working long hours, while in many ways being self-satisfying, doesn’t always yield the desired objectives. And perhaps a better work-life balance is the way to go and may even yield better productivity in our business lives.

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