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9-To-5 Would Mean Paradise

The expression „9-to-5“, which is derived from American business which traditionally had the opening hours 9 a.m. to 5.p.m., Monday to Friday shall suggest one has 40 working hours per week ( 5 days * 8 hours/day).

It’s an open secret that this is utopian and that 40 hours will never result in 40 hours. For ‘important customers’, ‘urgent tasks’ or other absolutely ‘unpostponable things’, working hours per week can easily become 48, 50 or even 60.

This can happen in each kind of business sectors.

  • The escapist gives an example for the game developing industry: “Every game developer usually goes through a period where a lot more work needs to be done to finish a game by a deadline than can fit in a 40-hour work week. Sometimes, that week balloons to 80 hours or more just to meet the ambitious milestones set by publishers and game producers.”
  • As the management trainer Monika Hahn admits, Germany as a mostly disciplined culture is used to fulfill the expectations toward timeliness and preciseness in sticking to deadlines. In this time-controlled culture, people’s trust would be destroyed by missing a deadline, which also mirrors a lack of managerial skills and inefficiency. “People in controlled-time cultures tend to have their time highly scheduled, and it’s generally a good idea to provide and adhere to performance milestones.Since Germans respect schedules and deadlines, it is not unusual for managers to expect people to work late and even give up weekends in order to meet target deadlines.”

In further researches I found an online study of working conditions concerning schedule in Singapore

This study claims that, with 1 person out of five working eleven or more hours daily, Singapore workers are working harder than ever before. Out of the 95 employees surveyed in an online study by international business company Regus, 19 of them reported to have worked 11+ hours a day. To compare: The global average working hours are 38 per week. Most of the respondents were professionals, 19% belonged to senior corporate professionals and business owners.

Almost 50% of local workers asked responded that they have taken home work at least 3 times a week.

What I found interesting was that I detected a blog that commented on exactly this survey and its result:

The post The Real Time shall do away with this semi-correct numbers in the opinion of the author “Ghost”. He accuses the survey to be inaccurate and understated and further goes on:

“I’m supposed to work 8 to 8 and a half hours daily depending on my shift. Do I work just these hours? No, because I have overtime at least once a week. Do I claim overtime for these extra hours? No, because the extra hours are not officially overtime but considered “time-off” which I can claim later. Can I claim these “time-off”? No, because the office is short of people and they require people to do extra work. If they need people to do extra work, quite naturally you cannot claim your “time-off”.
These “time-off” are not record officially as overtime and they are also not part of my working time. They are, like I said earlier, just unofficial time at the office where I put in extra work. I have over 17 hours of time-off on my record right not. I have no idea when I can claim these hours, and I’m not alone. Almost all of my colleagues are in the same boat.”

Well, I have to admit, I just found one-sided opinions and information about it, but to be honest, how could it be in a different way? Nobody would complain about not working enough. And whereas some people might be exaggerating or generalizing might be unfair to some, there is some kind of common sense that there IS a big divergence between official working hours and real number of hours worked and this fact or the existence of this problem is not solved although it is well-known that

  • working too many hours is decreasing productivity and the employee’s engagement and commitment to a firm.
  • it bears a risk of physical illnesses as well as depressions and vital exhaustion.
  • The burn-out is just one example for a possible consequence of steadily working overtime, a missing work-life balance and the influence of working too much on the human’s psyche.

And what we mustn’t forget is the fact that the innovativeness of technology in the recent years lead to a lot improvements that can be the employees’ best friends and biggest enemy at the same time:

The both-sidedness of technological progress or “Technological Slavery”

Whereas it facilitates a lot, shortens communication ways and improves communication, it takes away our closing time. May it be during the sunbathing on the Caribbean beach during the officially called “ vacation”, on a Sunday family trip or just in the second when you shut the office door behind you after a 12-hour-working day: due to instant messaging, e-mail client, whats-app and so on people CAN be, but also HAVE to be available and contactable no matter where, no matter when and no matter how necessary one second with the head out of work-life may be. This is the curse of the great technology.

What I found interesting is that to respond to this phenomenon, Android already introduced an application for mobile phones to keep track of the hours worked:    It is available for free download and belongs to the category “productivity”. This won’t solve the problem, as the employer will not have the choice between collecting overtime and shutting the office door behind him, but it might help to get an overview of one’s schedule.

What do you guys think? Where does the problem with the increasing number of working hours and limited freedom of flexibility and autonomy of employees come from?

Do you have any ideas how this trend and development could be stopped or even reversed?

I am looking forward to your comments and ideas.

See you soon 🙂


Leave a comment


  1. larissalbman

     /  November 21, 2011

    Hi Viola,
    when I saw your general blog topic and picture I would have expected everything, maybe some going-green kind of thing but not that! very nice and interesting choice! I also like your selection of sources, which is very diverse, and how you got the connection to the app!

  2. I think this was a great post! I got a nice overview of the topic and I liked how you stayed objective and reflected over why you couldn’t find any nice comments about overtime. The list of the effects of overtime showed me that we really need to change something.

    To be honest though, I don’t think that we can change it now. Maybe we can make it a little bit better but I think we have reached a point where not always being available is impossible because of the fast business pace of today.

  3. First of all I want to compliment you on your design, your blog looks beautiful 🙂

    Coming to the content of your post; I found that the topic you chose for your first post was well chosen, as it treats something in our day-to-day life, always in discussion and present to all of us. You presented your topic in a very understandable manner and your text was very well presented.

    Something you could still improve would be giving your links titles, so that we know what we are about to click on and if we are interested in looking at the “content” of the link without having to click on it first. I’m lazy 😉

    • Hey Mirja
      thanks a lot for your feedback. This is exactly what we are looking for and I’m going to put your advice concerning the link titles into action. Great idea 🙂 See you soon!

  4. HannahJulianeVeronika

     /  November 25, 2011

    Hi Viola,

    your post was really well-written and structured. The bullet points organized your points very nicely. Also the quote that you used was great to get a more vivid feeling for the problem and the evaluation of your research showed a very good and professional approach.

    What I liked most however was that you have chosen examples from all over the world to show that your topic is definitely a global one.

  5. Hey guys,
    just a short update:
    As I treated the topic „technological slavery“ and its consequences somehow (seen in an abstract way) in my 3 blog posts „9-To-5 Would Mean Paradise“, „When the light goes out..“ and “Too Connected?!?” , and I currently got to know that there is a new law established in Brazil, trying to cut down the forced 24/7 availability of employees, I just want to give you that short news:
    “Brazil has passed a new law that makes employees eligible to request overtime pay for email and phone calls after work hours. The Brazilian government views emails to employees’ smartphones as orders. The law addresses what a labor lawyer in this CNN video calls .” -CNN


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