Maybe we should take a lesson from the Germans and make an effort to become more focused and diligent so we could produce more and work fewer hours.

Read the full article at:

The end of the year can be a time for personal reflection. For those of us caught up in the always connected work world of long hours and late-night emails, it may be time to think about the personal cost of those long hours.

Let’s look outside the U.S. at Germany. Amol Sarva asks, “How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week (with an average 24 paid vacation days to boot) maintain such a high level of productivity?”

One answer is that during the work day, German workers work. According to Sarva, German workers are “focused and diligent which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time…Facebook, office gossip with co-workers, trolling Reddit for hours…are socially unacceptable behaviors…In Germany, there is zero tolerance among peers for such frivolous activities.”  In addition to focus, direct communication is part of the business culture. (American: “It would be great if you could get this to me by 3pm.” German: “I need this by 3pm.”)

So, what can we Americans do? Probably, only what we can control – ourselves. Sarva suggests, “Separating work from play…putting the phone down after hours…closing Facebook and turning off push notifications…Direct conversation can lead to increased efficiency, and more clarity of communication among team members…Americans often equate longer hours with increased production and superior work ethic, but examining the German model makes one wonder: When it comes to time at work, maybe less really is more!”

Hmmm. Maybe each of us should seriously attempt to achieve maximum productivity at work in exchange for working fewer hours. It seems like a win-win.

Contact us and we can help you create a work environment that supports employee health and productivity.    

Note: This blog was written in November 2014 and updated in January 2015. Some of the links may contain outdated information. The earliest link is from 2010. However, I think the concepts expressed in the blog remain valid.