It took a pandemic for America to realize that employees can be just as productive if not more productive by working less hours and less days of the week.
I don’t blame America. It usually does take extreme measures for humans to change behaviors. Like how it takes wars for people to yield their ambitions. And how most of us need counseling and medications to change behaviors.
But what baffles me is how many companies are reverting to their pre-pandemic work schedules.
I worked 30 hours a week (M-F) since the beginning of 2021. Now I’m back to 40 hours a week and it has been a challenge to adjust.
30-hour weeks made a huge difference in my work/life balance. I could schedule appointments before and after work instead of scheduling during work hours and having to make up those hours later, resulting in more than 8-hour days with the same amount of productivity.
I didn’t have to worry about rush hour traffic, I had energy to run errands after work, I had less energy drinks, and most of all I had more time to spend with my newborn baby.
Just the other day I was discussing with my wife about who is going to pick up our daughter from the babysitter because my wife had an appointment. If I was working 30 hours a week I could have picked her up after work. Instead, I had to wake up earlier to get to work earlier so I could get off work earlier just to make my family a priority.
This isn’t a focus on having to wake up earlier. Having a newborn, I already know what it means to lose sleep. I’m saying that with less hours at the job it’s easier for employees to prioritize themselves and their families.
I also gave my boss details on why I had to leave work earlier. I should have been comfortable with just saying I’m leaving early to pick up my daughter. I shouldn’t have felt like I need to say that our babysitter had to pick up their own child at 4pm and my wife has an appointment all day.
There’s nothing wrong with explaining myself, but I felt obligated to explain why I can’t make the whole eight-hour workday. How often do we cancel appointments because we feel bad for having too many obligations during work hours even if the work is still getting done?
But America is a capitalism country who is consistently competitive on being the #1 country. There are benefits to being one of the best countries in the world. But a large part of America’s success is due to slavery. Since slavery is illegal, we all have to make up for lost forced labor.
Now we’re all anxious and forcing ourselves to find work that we love so we’ll want to do it all day every day, so we can excel to the 1% and watch everyone else grind the 9-5 because they’re either lazy or have no talent.