The Mythical 40 Hour Week

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eWeek recently reported here that the Gartner Group released a report back in May stating that the 40 hour work week is “going the way of the dinosaur.”

Maybe, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

I’d be more willing to bet that the concept of spending 40 hours a week in an office environment might be dying off. But as anyone who’s worked in tech will tell you, only 40 hour weeks are more an oddity that the norm.

And as the labor pool continues to shrink (think boomers and college students disillusioned with the whole idea of tech), how realistic will it be for those getting into the field to insist on 20-30 hr weeks? When I was looking, I saw more than a few postings with comments along the lines of “involves on-call rotation”, “must be willing to work hours as necessary”, “able to open a vein on demand”, that kind of stuff.

One read through just about any Network World or eWeek and you’ll see interviews with C-level execs and tech managers describing how they love their 80+ hour a week jobs, and how things are so much better now that they can work via blackberry while climbing in the Rockies with their families (I just don’t want them belaying me!).

Interestingly, there was another article in the issue about telecommuters and how they tend to burn out quicker than non-telecommuters because they actually inadvertently work more than if they were going into an office. When your office is your home, it’s easy to get sucked in like that. The author also mentions how, as a telecommuter, you tend to believe you need to work harder to prove you’re actually working. In an office, apparently just showing up means you’re doing your job.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how all this shakes out over the next 20 or so years.

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