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The 80 Hour Work Week – Friend or Foe?

Did you know that America tops the charts for the 80-hour work week lifestyle? You wouldn’t think so, with all the talk about overtime vs. productivity and work-life balance, but the numbers prove it:

average hours worked annually

The Quartz editorial had an interesting article on the subject: “Whatever our religion or ideology, we are still trapped by the centuries-old Protestant ethic, which viewed long hours as a badge of moral seriousness. Most firms still value such “intensity”.

Having your staff work 80 hours a week may seem like a badge of honor, a merit of commitment towards the firm, and all that is very commendable. But when you think about it and weigh productivity with the dollars spent on coughing up OT and stressed out unhappy workers, maybe there’s something seriously wrong.

Understaffed? Tight or missed deadlines? Late submissions? Whatever the symptoms, the bottom line is that regular long hours mean poor management of resources, or a broken process, or both!

Here’s why:

Poor Resource Management

The reasons why you have your team tagged on OT could be one of two things: 1) Exaggerated ideas about the productivity of your team or 2) Exaggerated promises to the client. The first implies that you are not aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your team, and the second reason implies that you do not know exactly what the client wants, and your ability to deliver it.

So if the problem at your organization falls into one of these two categories, it is time to attempt an organization-wide self-analysis to understand how you can plan, manage and get more out of your resources.

On the other hand, if you have a great and productive team, and the client has been given the correct deadline, maybe you should be having a closer look at your process and thinking about what can be done to make it more efficient. That brings us to the next aspect:

A Broken Process

More often than not, all you have to do to get your productivity soaring without resorting to the ‘necessary’ evil that is overtime, is to mend your work process. Is there perhaps a duplication of effort? Could it be that your precious time is being wasted in the to and fro between processes? Do you have a bunch of people twiddling their thumbs and waiting on the workflow to … well, flow? All these things do matter and contribute heavily to the time spillover.

Let’s talk about your proposal and document creation woes since that is where we can really help you out! A broken process can actually triple the time taken for document proposal! And we are not just saying that – we have proof.

A few things that XaitPorter can do to correct the broken process:

  • Different Teams can collaborate and work on the proposal simultaneously in real time – goodbye to twiddling thumbs!
  • Edits and approvals can be done as the proposal is being prepared – time saved on to-and-fro, and files, and red tape.
  • AUTOMATIC … the magic word that makes your graphics team clap their hands in glee – formatting, numbering, templates and much more made so very simple and super fast.
  • Scheduling and notifications are automated – so you and your team never miss a beat and are on top of it way before the deadline.
  • The Master Data Management feature which ensures the PM has the whole process in perfect control minimizing the need to chase discrepancies in the eleventh hour.

See, just getting a closer look at your process and finding the right tools that can rectify the glitches may be just what your company needs. In his blog, Work versus Life. Greatness versus Family, Ben Pieratt says: “I find that when I give myself more hours the only thing that scales up is procrastination. There’s little difference in my productivity in a 80 or 40 hour work week.” And that is usually very, very true. Long hours isn’t the solution, mending your broken process is.

Talk to us at Xait and we’ll show you how your proposal and document creation process can be made 70% faster with XaitPorter.

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