Great Labor Day reading: Fortune Magazine reported that the UN published a survey that found only 18% of American’s are clocking in over 48 hours per week. This suggests to me a couple of things:
- Being productive and getting more done in less time was not counted nor is valued
- No one surveyed entrepreneurs or small business owners
- Someone thinks running a family is a leisure activity
In addition to waving caution because we don’t appear to be working enough, the article also pointed out that we have, on average, 117 hours of ‘leisure’ time per week. Note that that includes sleep (because sleep is optional?). So if we take out the weekend (assuming we actually don’t work over the weekend), we’re left with 13.8 hours a day for sleep and non-work activities. Assuming you’re lucky enough to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, you have 5.8 hours per day when you’re not working or not sleeping. I have to assume that running kids to soccer practice, preparing dinner, or commuting to work is also included in that paltry 5.8 hours. When did those tasks become leisurely? Any women entrepreneurs want to weigh in on that?
I believe the bottom line points to Americans taking a more integrated approach to work and life. We value productivity and believe we can be valuable at work and have a life (some call this work/life balance, though I before to see it as creating a sustainable life). We may not be punching the time clock as often as other countries, but it would also be interested to look at what type of work those other countries such as Peru and South Korea are doing.
ADDENDUM: From the same report, a different take on it. The Buffalo News reports the findings from the UN report as “Americans are more productive than any other country.” Unfortunately I can not locate the report on the web (nor did either article link to it!) so I can not draw my own conclusions, but such is the challenge with the press…it is all in the spin!