Memo from one boss: Don’t work too much!


I found an excellent blog post about Wisetech Global, an Australian IT company with a somewhat… different attitude to overwork:

If employees work more than 40 hours a week regularly, they have to talk to their manager to redress the situation.

WiseTech Global chief executive Richard White said the company’s approach was consistent with its core values, which state that although staff should strive for the best outcomes, “we do not ask people to impale themselves on their work commitments”.

“Its not the amount of work, it’s the quality of the work,” he said.

There you go. This is what every single workplace in the world should do.

Hat tip to Luciano Moretti for telling me about this awesome company.

And we can all contribute to a better and healthier attitude to working hours. Check out this comment from Dee:

I work in retail, and it’s true, some enjoy spending all their time at work, and that’s fine. If you want to spend 60 hours at work, that’s your prerogative. What I don’t like is the judgmental attitudes surrounding work hours– the unsaid expectation that if you don’t work 9-9, you’re a failure, or letting your team down.

No, working 12 hours, five days in a row makes me miserable AND a failure– a failure at my job. I work to live, I don’t live to work, as the old saying goes and, when I first started and was eager to fit in, I bent over backwards keeping a similar schedule. I felt ashamed that my ‘meager’ 12 hour day contribution wasn’t enough, and I felt in ‘awe’ of the woman that habitually came in at 6am and leaving at 9pm. Then one day, about a year into the job, I remember wondering why I had gotten the flu yet AGAIN, (the fourth time in two months!) when it hit me. I was working way too much and almost killing myself. Life is going to get me in the end. I don’t need my job to speed up that process.

Now I work less, work better, and win more accolades, get more sales, and get sick less, all because I don’t conform to the cult of overwork. I’m in the minority, but I’m happy. And that lady? Well, she still works her heart out, and complains the whole way.

YES – shorter working hours can make you enjoy work more, enjoy life more AND help you do better work.

What’s the attitude to overwork at your workplace? Are people who constantly work overtime celebrated as heroes or is there a real effort to keep working hours down?

Related posts

  • Bring back the 40-hour work week
  • Don’t let The Cult of Overwork ruin your work life.
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  • 5 thoughts on “Memo from one boss: Don’t work too much!”

    1. Great post. I am running some work/life balance workshops for an enlightened UK organisation and it is key that the managers understand that it is output and outcomes that matter not presenteeism.

    2. Interesting read. I once worked with a co-worker who would sit at her desk and surf the internet until her boss left for the night just to show how late she was working. Happy workers produce better results.

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