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Productivity and longer working hours essay

Essay topic

Some people believe that organizations can increase their productivity and profits by increasing working hours. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a move?

Sample response

A person’s productivity is not always proportional to the amount of time he or she spends at the workplace and hence the argument that productivity can be increased by increasing working hours doesn’t hold much water. Let me elaborate.

Contrary to popular belief people who work ten or twelve hours at a stretch tend to be less productive than those who work 8 hours or less. That is probably because the human brain is not capable of staying alert for longer periods of time. They may be physically present at the workplace, but if their minds are elsewhere they are unlikely to get much work done. What’s more, when employees are forced to work longer hours, they won’t get much time to spend with their family. This can affect their morale.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that companies shouldn’t increase the working hours. Companies can ask their employees to work longer hours if they are willing to compensate them adequately. Organizations can also switch to a six day work week.

That said, if an organization really wants to improve its productivity what it needs to do is to make better use of the time employees spend at the workplace. Many employees access social networking sites during office hours. This affects their productivity and therefore organizations need to restrict the internet usage of their employees by selectively blocking websites. Organizations also need to spend time and money on imparting the required training. Trained employees tend to work better.

Measures taken to increase productivity will not yield the desired results if the organization fails to keep employee welfare in mind. Take the case of the most successful organizations in the world. They treat their employees well. They offer attractive remuneration, excellent career prospects and state-of-the-art working conditions. Needless to say, they attract the best talent and can increase their productivity without having to increase the working hours.

To conclude, an organization cannot increase its productivity or profits by simply asking its employees to work longer hours. Any such measures taken without the consent of the employees is more likely to backfire.