A 72-Hour Work Week is the New Norm : An Always-On Culture

I just read this post on Harvard Biz Review about how a 72-hour work week is becoming the new normal. I see that as a big problem as someone who really does think (and hope) she can have it all in life in a real work/life integrated balance.

The problems: an always-on culture via smartphones and technology and wasted work days.


Key findings:

– 60% of those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs 13.5+ hrs a day on weekdays and about five hrs on weekends = about 72 hrs.

– If those people sleep 7-8 hrs a night, that leaves only 3 hours a day Monday-Friday for them to do everything else (e.g. chores, exercise, grocery shop, family time, shower, relax).

– Also concludes they spend 62% of their waking hours every week connected to work (82% on weekdays).

While the study shows that executives, managers and professionals (EMPs for this case) didn’t really mind being connected to work for more than eight hours a day, they were not happy about it when it was because upper management didn’t respect their time or when their official work hours were wasted, so they have to make up the time working from their laptops or smartphones at home.

“The complaints we heard most often (from at least three-quarters and as high as 96% of respondents) centered on useless meetings and emails, inadequate technology, disorganized or incompetent C-suites, and unclear decision-making authority.”

Click for source.
Click for source.


The lesson: we need to be getting more done at work while we’re at work. This can be solved by:

– Reducing redundant/useless meetings that allow us to get more done during the work day

– Leaders emphasizing how important down time is for your health and the work culture

– More clear decision-making guidelines that prevent bottlenecks in the command chain


Here is the recent survey of the 483 executives, managers and professionals (EMPs) in full found via Harvard Business Review. 

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