How many hours do guys really work?

November 24, 2016 |


If you are an Indian male professional working on a desk-job, your annual working hours would be between 1,920 to 2000 hours. Your French counterpart spends on an average of 1,473/- hours annually and the American counterpart is working for 1,789/- hours. But you know that you don’t spend all of these hours pounding on the keyboard, do you?

That takes us to how many hours do guys really spend working? One thing we love about guys, they are either super distracted over a Netflix show discussion near the coffee machine or completely immersed behind their laptop over an interesting project. There’s no in-between. This balance would bore us. Thank you boys.

Turns out guys who don’t check their emails during weekends typically spend on an average of 45 minutes reading and replying emails on Mondays. On other days, this varies from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Men in India have something called a Chai-Sutta break where they would hang out at a tea stall for a smoke and tea. So that averages to about 15-20 minutes. Then there’s a lunch break for about an hour followed by another tea break around 5 pm lasting 10 minutes. So basically, our guys while away a good 1 hour 50 minutes in doing anything other than work. This coupled with another 10-15 minutes of aimless browsing on the internet, makes it a total of 2 hours. So actually, they work for 6 hours every day, well, roughly. Businesses in some countries are putting this into practice. Recently a news stated that some Swedish companies had adopted a six-hour workday.

And our boys like to be boys. So on cricket, football or tennis season days or tournaments, you will see them checking scores or stealing away a few minutes of TV during office hours. How would they feel macho enough, had it not been for sports, eh? But a bigger question is: how much slacking is permissible? If a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research is to be believed, half an hour a day is fine. The report insisted that long working hours may not be very productive.

Indian employers seem to be mentally prepared for slack times since most companies have an eight-hour work schedule while IT companies demand 12 to 16 hours depending on the on-going projects. Flexible work hours do give our boys some breather since they get to manage their productive times on their own. But talk to some of them  and you will conclude that men in India work for 4-5 hours quite productively and in many cases, it could only be 2.5 to 3 hours per day. That way, they are no different from their American counterparts. No wonder The New York Times Best Seller The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss stayed on the list for four years starting from 2007.

But here’s what’s something very interesting brewing among Indian guys. Those who start up a disruptive business find it very natural and easy to put in 10-12 hours of solid productive work. Why? Because these startup founders love what they do. So if you can get our guys to love their work, they are more likely to put in productive working hours in their daily schedule. Isn’t it what Steve Jobs said? The only way to do great work is to love what you do.