Engineers, It’s Time For a 30 Hour Workweek

5 Reasons Why It’s Time for Engineers to Work Less To Accomplish More


All engineers would like to work less. Well, all of the normal ones anyway. Of course there are those  that live to work, rather than work to live. But the vast majority of engineers want to get the most done in the least amount of time.

It may seem counter intuitive, but engineers working less hours per week can actually benefit the employer as well. That’s why it’s time for engineering firms to offer the 30-­hour workweek. I propose individuals choose either a 3 day (10 hour per day) schedule or a 4 day (7.5 hour per day) schedule.

Here are five reasons why it’s time to work harder (and smarter) rather than longer:

 

1. Productivity

We’ve all been there, staring at the clock, waiting for it to hit the end of the workday. As you watch the numbers slowly tick by wishing that you could magically fast­forward them with Jedi mind powers, you’re not being very productive.

The easiest solution to getting more productivity out of each minute is actually having more to do. If we’re bogged down with a long to­do list at the beginning of each day, we prioritize the important tasks that must get done first and work our way to the bottom of the list. With more actual work to do in a given day, we find ourselves no longer looking at the clock. We’re too busy getting things done!

With a shorter workweek, each day becomes more jam­packed with what you actually need to get done. So your productivity increases during each workday. I believe engineers could accomplish the same amount of work in 30-hours as they do now in 40-hours. When time is shortened, engineers will rise up to the challenge.

Image source: Giphy

 

2. Restfulness

We all know how important a solid 8-hours of sleep per night is. We’ve read the studies, heard about it on the news, and we’ve experienced it firsthand. In addition to a good night’s sleep, days off of work are at least equally important.

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Think about how refreshed you feel after Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, Eid, Diwali or any other national holiday weekend. This doesn’t have to be a country mandated, couple times per year thing. This could be the normal work schedule!

If employers find engineers to be equally productive at 30-hours per week, part of that productivity would be due to the additional days off. Even if the engineers aren’t actually ‘resting’, it’s still a time for them to take their mind off work and reset their batteries in order to maximize their productivity the following week.

Image source: Giphy

 

3. Happiness

In decades and centuries past, workers were forced to grind day in and day out with little thanks and given no time for ‘fun’. But today, with fierce competition to keep and retain top talent, companies are coming up with new ways for employees to enjoy the workday while remaining productive.

Case and point is Google. Simply watch the movie “The Internship” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to see how ‘cool’ it is to work for Google.

A 30-­hour workweek would simply make employees happier.  They get to spend more time doing things that fulfill them outside of work. Whether it’s being with their family, being outside, or simply having some alone time. It would be much better to come in for 3 long, very busy days if you’re able to go on a  4 day vacation immediately afterward.

Image source: Giphy

 

4. Connectivity 

It’s never been easier to connect in the workplace. With cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. everyone is connected all the time. The employee must go into a 30-­hour workweek with the understanding that questions may come up while he/she is not in the office; therefore, they must remain available.

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Most engineers will not have a problem answering a question, clarifying some confusion, or inputting some data on their days off if it means they’re not physically at work all day. Most tasks do not require an engineer to sit behind a desk all day.  Most things can be solved by a quick phone call while the engineer is at home sitting in their PJs.

Image source: Giphy

 

5. Accountability 

This is the single most important reason to implement a shorter workweek. Engineers do not want to be babysat! The company is not paying us so that our boss can breathe down our neck and make sure we’re sitting in our desk chair for exactly 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.

With more freedom comes more responsibility. And this gives the engineer the opportunity to take ownership of their projects.  The company holds the engineer accountable for getting their work done in a timely and efficient manner.  The engineer responds to the increased freedom by doing even better work in even less time.

Image source: Giphy

 

By implementing a shorter workweek, the company is valuing the engineer’s time. I for one do my best work when I feel like I ‘own’ a project.  I do even better work when I’m held accountable for the success or failure of that project.  I do my absolute best work when I’m given a timeline, freedom, and accountability.

The 30-­hour workweek helps to empower engineers in the workplace. Whether civil, chemical, electrical, electronics, mechanical, biomedical, materials, design, software or computer engineering firms, this should be accepted by employers and employee.

Randy Williams
Randy Williams: Student of Life. Professional Engineer. Skeptic. Explorer. Reader. Listener. From Greater Denver Area, USA.

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Engineers, It’s Time For a 30 Hour Workweek

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