Thread List
First Page Previous Page Page 211 / 291 Next Page Last Page
Subject#Latest
5 30.09.06
6 30.09.06
1 30.09.06
1 29.09.06
7 29.09.06
1 29.09.06
2 29.09.06
10 29.09.06
6 29.09.06
3 29.09.06
9 29.09.06
2 29.09.06
7 29.09.06
3 29.09.06
2 28.09.06
4 28.09.06
18 28.09.06
17 28.09.06
3 28.09.06
13 28.09.06
1 28.09.06
17 28.09.06
10 28.09.06
2 27.09.06
5 27.09.06
3 27.09.06
5 27.09.06
3 27.09.06
2 27.09.06
3 27.09.06
11 26.09.06
17 26.09.06
9 26.09.06
1 25.09.06
2 25.09.06
1 25.09.06
2 25.09.06
3 24.09.06
2 24.09.06
2 23.09.06
14 22.09.06
4 22.09.06
5 22.09.06
6 22.09.06
4 22.09.06
1 22.09.06
1 22.09.06
5 22.09.06
9 22.09.06
1 22.09.06
First Page Previous Page Page 211 / 291 Next Page Last Page

Work hours in strategy

 
#1 Work hours in strategy
15/09/2006 11:02

Frustrated

I had posted this thread a few days ago but it must have got deleted, so I'm re-posting.

I work for a strategy consultancy in Europe. We generally work 12-14 hours a day in the office (no home-working, except the odd w/e.

I personally consider 8-12 hours to be optimal due to following factors:

1) People who are fresh and rested perform much better and can be really creative. Medical studies show that you achieve peak performance, four hours after you wake up. They even suggest that you nap for a couple of hours to hit that peak twice a day.

2) Exhaustion increases churn which increases recruitment and training costs and reduces efficiency. Some turnover is unavoidable as people seek better opportunities but do we need to exacerbate it?

3) Exhaustion impacts people's health, making consulting increasingly unatractive as a career, as people become more sensitive to work-life quality issues.

4) Lack of free time impacts people psychologically as they miss the normal pressure-release valves, turning them to potentially unhealthy behaviour, e.g. excessive drinking, extramarital-affairs, or generally just turns them into a**es. We see plenty of those on this board :)

5) In most cases working 12-14 hours is unnecessary. It's the result of bad project planning, a mis-placed focus on quantity over quality (Is it really sensible to produce a 400 slide set to tell a 40 slide story? Couldn't 100 slides suffice?), or a case of macho attitudes.

I should say that all my arguments are based on the assumption that a 'use 'em up, spite 'em out' business model is unworthy in all ways - bad for people and bad for business in the long term.

I'd welcome any thoughts from all who have similar experiences.

Reply  Quote   
 
#2 RE: Work hours in strategy
15/09/2006 15:54

Mike to Frustrated (#1)

I think this is a problem of large / prestigious organisations in general. You can see the same long hours mentality prevailing in banking, law, accounting - most organisations where there's fierce competition to get ahead and where the individual managers' motivations are not necessarily aligned with what's in the best interests of the business.

You see the contrast when you work for a very small business, where everyone knows that people are the most valuable asset - and that holding on to them is in the best interests of everyone. When people in small firms work long hours it's more often than not through passion and love of the work rather than because they're compelled to.

But in a large organisation there's always pressure to stretch staff now for immediate gain - even when that's not in the longer-term interests of the business:

o A manager's bonus and / or promotion are tied to the outcome of a particular project assignment (so every extra hour squeezed out of the team is potentially a more satisfied client and better chance of advancement for the manager)

o The firm is publicly quoted and so there's always a drive to maximise the next quarter's results - rather than take actions that have a more long term benefit

o Staff turnover of 25% is considered the norm - and hey "nothing I change about the way I manage my team is going to alter the company churn problem"

o "I've had to work long hours and weekends when I was at their rank, so don't see any reason they shouldn't now."

So I'd say this is endemic - and most people I know in strat firms suffer the same problem with hours; the only way out is to join a smaller business or indeed to take the leap and set up your own!

Reply  Quote   
 
#3 RE: Work hours in strategy
24/09/2006 11:25

Frustrated to Mike (#2)

I agree with Mike about the prevailing mentality, but I find it interesting that none of the justifications of companies that squeeze their employees apply to consulting. Consulting companies (at least in strategy) are not listed, each office is independent and not too big, and the ammount spent per employee in training, perks, materials and pay is so high that you really need to reduce churn. I accept the last point about people saying, "I had to do that too when I was junior".

None fo this refutes the fact that this is a dumb idea and reduces business benefits in the long run.

Reply  Quote   

Top of Page

ThreadID: 18472

Advertise
Your Jobs!