Why Rectifying Our Culture Of Overwork Is Easier Said Than Done
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.
This week, John and Rachel discuss a Fast Company article, “Why Rectifying Our Culture Of Overwork Is Easier Said Than Done” by Rachel Gillett.
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Good morning. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices where every Monday morning I always call good friend Rachel Fish, the Accountants and something leader Sage Canada.
Rachel: Just whenever you got it down, you pull that.
John: Alliances, alliances.
Rachel: Yeah, yeah.
John: There it is. It’s brought to you by the letter A. It’s pretty much it. We always get together and talk through an article that we find online about culture, employee engagement, or better workplaces, things like that and found this one on Fast Company and it’s Why We’re Rectifying Our Culture of Overwork is Easier Said Than Done. I felt like this is something that hits home with a lot of people, I think.
Rachel: A little bit. Yes, I love it’s by a Rachel, so by Rachel Gillette. The line here underneath the title, “We tried to place some boundaries on our workdays, but we learned that guilt is more pervasive in the workplace than we imagined.” No kidding! Anyone, I think, who has a mother, maybe it’s used to that kind of thing. I just think that overall, 100 years of doing anything is not going to be undone quickly, right. When you think of the people who are in a leadership position now, being kind of in the trenches where this culture was widely adopted by accident, I think, because I don’t think anybody intentionally, or maybe they did, I mean these habits are hard to break.
John: Absolutely. I remember when I was working in the office and even in Big Four was everyone’s gauging off of each other. So it’s kind of like that old parable where the clock tower person was setting their clock to the watchmaker and then the watchmaker was vice versa, and so it’s like who’s gauging off of who? Before you know it, we’re all working late and no one’s saying why are we still here type of a thing. It’s going to leave because they’re not leaving. They’re not leaving because we’re still here. It’s like, what the hell? If somebody just speaks up, then we can all have normal lives.
Also, I think it’s really great too is just there are deadlines and things do need to get done, but busyness doesn’t equate to getting more things done. I think that that’s something that a lot of people lose sight of that if I look busy or if I appear busy or if I feel busy, then I’m being productive and that’s not always the case.
Rachel: In fact, that’s completely the opposite to the case, right? Is that that is maybe more a sign of a lack of time management and productivity skills. I think I actually just saw it was a tweet or something recently. Maybe I’ll find the source in time for the show notes. But it’s, okay, so I forget what it actually said, but the intention of it was basically beware of those busy looking people who never seem to have to time for things. Even though, yes, my calendar is pretty full, yes, I pack it with lots of appointments, I don’t ever want to come across as frantic because there’s just a lack of common control and productivity if you see these harried people running around all frantic.
So she’s got a few points here. One is the deadlines, the one that you mentioned. I’m going to point out the “we feel pressure to keep going.” In an age where information is coming at you constantly, there is really never an opportunity to completely shut off. I’ve got colleagues from South Africa to Australia to the UK to BC even. So it’s hard to just completely stop. My hours may be eight to five or whatever, but other people’s aren’t and I work with those people. So unless you consciously shut that phone off or stop looking at it or whatever, it’s not going to leave you alone.
John: Right. I think that that’s an important note is that the work is always going to be there. No matter how long you work or how hard you work or how focused you work, there’s only so much time in the day. Plenty of studies on productivity show that after you work so many hours, I think it’s somewhere around 55 hours a week, then your productivity just tails off. I mean, you might as well just not work after that. So they did a great thing here in the article where they challenged each other to set an in time to the day and be like, all right, we’re all leaving at 5:30 p.m. all next week type of a thing. They found that they were more focused because then they knew that they had to be leaving, and I thought that that was interesting.
Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. There’s actually a tweet from Blake Oliver that talks about like from a managing partner, just a reminder that your day begins at 8:30, not 8:45, not 9:00, not 9:30. There’s this kind of a rebuttal for an employee saying, “Just to remind our partners, my day ends of 5:30, not 6:00, not 8:00, not 2:00 in the morning.” I thought that was awesome.
John: Absolutely. So there you go, everybody. I don’t want to make this go too long so that then we’re not setting boundaries ourselves for the episode. This is the podcast that never ends. So I hope everyone has a great rest of the week. We’ll see you next Monday. All right, have a good one, Rachel.
Rachel: You too, John. Talk to you later.