Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Office:Office – 40-hours-a-week

There can be only five possible reactions to this headline.
  1. One raised eyebrow – Really? Which world do you live in Dude? By the time I get my act together half the day is spent.
  2.  Two raised eyebrows – Really? There are people who work only 8 hours a day? Why don’t I know any of them?
  3. Both eyebrows joined together in a frown – You are gnashing your teeth in anger not knowing what words to utter first. You probably need some water followed by a shot of morphine.
  4. Both eye brows in their place - You could be in deep concentration/ meditation to distract yourself from the reality of your 16 hour work day. Or you could have just gone to sleep (having mastered this position a long time ago)
  5. One eye brow lowered in a wink – Hehehe. You finally found out how I work eh? Just keep the secret to yourself and I’ll refer you to a similar opening.

Statistically only 20% of people manage to work 40 hours a week (see points above). The rest work way longer – some because they don’t have a choice and others because they don’t have the discipline. So when I read that Amazon had declared it will pilot a 30 hour-work-week, I was gob smacked. I hoped it was a prank. I checked the date and realized it wasn’t April 1. Several deep breaths and google searches later, I decided this was at best a publicity gimmick.

Amazon employees work an average of 80 hours a week. Scaling that to 30 hours is like challenging an elephant to run the 100m in 5 seconds. Who wouldn’t pay to watch that? And the corporate world is now watching Amazon with mixed emotions. I am looking for the tiny asterisk that says ‘conditions apply’ and even tinier font size that explains if this gimmick will be implemented if it succeeds in giving rise to a new corporate culture.  Even though that will be called something cute (and unimportant) like Mini-Week or petite-week.

(I know the Beetle is an iconic car, but who in their right mind buys one unless they have got a fleet of more robust machines in the garage? Either that or you are plain cuckoo, in my humble view). Those who have already made their moolah elsewhere will want to adopt the Mini-week and flaunt it like a badly created overpriced tattoo. This might soon become aspirational and restricted to the upper echelons of Amazon, dangled as a proverbial carrot to fuel career progression.

In conclusion, the 30 hour work week would be like the pretty girl/ handsome man who looks great until she begins to talk.

For a serious take on the 30 –hour-work-week, read this piece.

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