What Constitutes Work?

The Definition Of Work Needs To Change

If you go to the dictionary the definition of work  is:

An activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result or:

A task or tasks to be undertaken.

I don’t like these definitions as gardening or reading a book or practicing a musical instrument could be covered by the first one and almost anything done during waking hours is covered by the second one. Doing the washing up is work by both definitions but does not get us very far when looking at a thirty hour working week unless you work in a kitchen.

A New Definition For The Modern World

Work is anything that you would stop doing if you didn’t have to earn money.

I feel that gives us a much better measure both for my challenge and for life in general. It also means that for many people their working week is much longer than they initially think. For example How many people would continue to commute to their place of work if they didn’t have to earn money? I suspect the answer is close to, or actually zero. This means that if it takes you 45 minutes from when you leave the house until you reach your workplace then you must add 90 minutes per day or 7.5 hours per week to your work time.

One of the few positives of the pandemic is that so many people have been able to work from home and this has effectively reduced their working week by many hours. Only time will tell how many will return to their old habits when things start to get back to normal.

Yes, This Is Part Of Your Working Day

and this!!!

While you are at it don’t forget to count all those hours “just catching up on a couple of emails” at home in front of the telly or even worse working whilst we claim we are on holiday.

Just Checking Emails

Now please don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of all these things (and still am to a certain extent).

The difference between the past when we believed that the more we worked the more efficient we were and the more we got done and now is that science has shown this is not the case. We will discuss this more in future blogs but just to say here that once you get to 40 hours per week you have peaked. Now we have the evidence that to be better at our work we must observe limits. Anyone carrying on the old way is stuck in the past.

Very recently there was an article about one of the financial services companies being asked to reduce the hours of certain employees to 85 hours. No, it’s not a typo. I really did mean reduce to 85 hours. Using my definition the work week would be a lot longer as that doesn’t include commuting etc.

My work with many clients is to do just that and using the techniques I have built up over the years to improve profitability through effectiveness. If you are interested in how I can help your organisation please contact me. The difference between me and so many consultants is that I actually use these techniques in my own businesses.

Just don’t expect me to work an 85 hour week.

If you want to look at this further we have both manufacturing and service simulations to enable everyone to be more effective then please contact us for details. https://www.wellsassoc.co.uk/contact/

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