You Only Do Actual Work For 29 Hours A Week

You may be physically spending 45 hours or more a week in an office but you are only really productive for 29 of those, according to new data. During the other 16, you are probably on Facebook or reading 50 Shades of Grey (or remembering reading 50 Shades of Grey.) Should we have to go to work less because of this new research?

This stat came out as part of the Microsoft Office Personal Productivity Challenge(which drew responses from more than 38,000 people in 200 countries.) Eric Barker wrote up this in his column for Wired Magazine. He revealed that:

  • People work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider about 17 of those hours to be unproductive (U.S.: 45 hours a week; 16 hours are considered unproductive).
  • People spend 5.6 hours each week in meetings; 69%  feel meetings aren’t productive (U.S.: 5.5 hours; 71% feel meetings aren’t productive).
  • Women had an average productivity score of 72%, compared with 71% for men (U.S.: women, 70%; men, 68%).

He wrote U.S. workers attribute these unproductive hours to procrastination, 42%; lack of team communication, 39%; ineffective meetings, 34%.

But should we really be concentrating on time at all? Jody Thompson, co-founder of CultureRxand Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), told The Huffington Post that we need to throw out the notion that time matters.

“Time plus physical presence does not equal results because we don’t know what the results are half the time. So the only way we [say we] can judge people is by time. It’s hard for a manager to get clear with people on what performance looks like. It’s much easier to count butts in chairs: ‘Look! All my people are here, they’re dressed in their work clothes, they’re sitting in their work station — they must be working!’ But in an authentic Results-Only Work Environment, you would never even think about how much time it takes. You would just say, ‘here’s what I need, in terms of outcome, and then here’s how I’m going to measure that outcome.’ Now you need to deliver it.”

A ROWE basically gives employees complete freedom to do their work. Each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Though this sounds like it would result in chaos, it actually works. Thompson and her co-founder, Cali Ressler, installed a ROWE at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters and found that productivity increased by 30-40% depending on the department.

Photo: Anatoliy Samara /

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