How many hours do you work per week? Do you work a traditional 40-hour work week? Or like many professionals, do you work more? While logic would suggest that the more hours you work, the more you will accomplish, right? Not exactly. There is a point of diminishing returns. You get to a certain point in your day where your productivity starts to slow. And, it’s not that you start to feel tired, you are actually getting less done. 

Recent research suggests that working extra hours can be linked to decreased productivity. Cam Whalen, one of our fintech and software recruiters, discusses this topic below:

Is There A Connection Between Work Hours And Decreased Productivity?

For many years, the idea of putting in extra hours at the office was hailed as a symbol of dedication and efficiency. Many wore it as a badge of honour or viewed it as a prestigious achievement. However, how people view work is changing. With more people experiencing burnout and with technology enabling greater efficiency, working long hours is not desirable. 

Recent findings from Slack reveal a new reality: working beyond regular hours tends to lead to diminished productivity. 

Working long hours is now being looked at in a different light. It might indicate that an employee is overwhelmed with tasks, signaling the necessity for assistance in organizing priorities and managing their time effectively.

How Many People Are Working Outside Normal Office Hours?

According to the Workforce Index, Slack’s survey of more than 10,000 desk workers, a large portion of the workforce is putting in extra hours: 

  • 37% of desk workers are logging on outside of their company’s standard hours at least weekly
  • 54% of these employees work longer hours because they feel pressured to, not because they choose to.

How Much Does The Number of Work Hours Affect Productivity?

The number of hours worked per day and how those hours are allocated affects your level of productivity. The Slack survey identified four key insights:

  • Working normal hours is more productive: Employees who work typical workdays register 20% higher productivity scores than those who feel obligated to work after hours.
  • Taking breaks is productive: Making time for breaks during the workday improves employee productivity and well-being. However, half of all workers report they rarely or never take breaks during the work day.
  • 4 hours is the magic number: Workers report that the ideal amount of focus time is around four hours a day. Two hours a day in meetings is the tipping point when most workers feel overburdened by meetings.
  • 3 pm to 6 pm is low productivity: 75% of workers report working in the 15:00 to 18:00 time frame, but only 25% consider these hours to be highly productive.

How Do Workplace Obligations Affect Productivity?

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the survey was that workers who feel an obligation to work more are less productive. Those who feel obligated to work outside of normal office hours have a 20% lower productivity score compared to those who work a normal workday. They also report:

  • 2.1x worse work-related stress
  • 1.7x times lower satisfaction with their overall working environment
  • 2x greater burnout

Feeling the need to work and do more makes it more difficult for people to get that much-needed separation and break from work. It harms their work-life balance. 


Check Out More Insights From Our Recruiters 

How to Transition Employees to Remote Work Without Losing Productivity

Is Your Boss Watching You? The Rise of Worker Productivity Monitoring

Is Remote Work Really to Blame for Decreased Productivity?

Cam Whalen Financial Recruiter

Cam Whalen

Cam is a Director, Client Services at IQ PARTNERS FinTech and Financial Services, & Insurance team. Born and raised in New Zealand, Cam completed a Commerce Degree with a double major in Commercial Law & Marketing before getting into the world of recruitment.

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