23 November 2014

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study in Culture"

Recently, Knote published an article "Why Germans work fewer hours but produce more: A study in culture" and shared the "no-nonsense" work attitude of Germans. I think the description fits me rather well, or at least how I would expect a workplace should be so as to achieve the required outputs in the most efficient ways/time.

Having worked at a German company in Singapore for a short period, my observations were quite different from that explored in the article. Perhaps the local culture of the country is stronger.

The article mentioned that "Americans often equate longer hours with increased production and superior work ethic." I beg to differ. This is untrue in the last 2 American companies I worked in. Most people I know there have short work days; and superiors and fellow colleagues not necessarily think of them as unproductive or inferior work ethic.

Some colleagues keep their work phones close by post-work hours; I would discourage the 24/7 standby to have the well-deserved well-rested rest. Some colleagues leave office early to be home to play and have dinner with their children, and then switch on their laptops and blackberry for round 2 of work, and especially to communicate with our counterparts who are having their normal work hours on the other side of the world.

I often chose to stay back late in the office, not because I have been unproductive in the normal working hours but because of the numerous tasks to be completed. I do not like to keep today's work for tomorrow although I'm starting to observe the procrastinator in me surfacing at times.

Also, in the evenings or nights, the work place is mostly peaceful, where colleagues would have left the office and not come by for chit-chat or with operational questions. It's the time where I can concentrate and do some planning or quickly tick the check boxes in my task list.

I do think I am a very productive worker. Just that I need a constant reminder to be more assertive to say NO to unnecessary non-critical tasks and to those who are wasting my time (I'm ok with the occasional chit chat; note; occasional, not constant) Haha...!