What is the ideal number of working hours for the IT industry?

One of the big debates of our times, in this information age, is about the ideal number of working hours. Graduating from a campestral worker to an industrial worker to the information age worker; man has come a long way. The most important component that spurs this debate is the Internet, which has bridged the distance between continents, but is yet to substitute our presence in the office.

The myth of longer working hours being more productive

Working for more hours and churning out more in terms of productivity was a dictum that was very well suited for the industrial era. Factory workers would be involved in doing manual work on machines that were cast. So, if a factory worker wanted to double production of unit A, the only mechanism of doing this was to work double the time. This was simple and logical, because there was no way a machine could do in 1-1/2 hours what it was doing in two, because the machine was designed to give a level of output with given inputs over a fixed period of time with the same level of effort.

IT is the new paradigm

That has changed with information technology. Are we in the same age where we have to stand for ten hours a day to whip a product out of a die cast? Information age work is all about being cerebral. It is all about creativity. There is nothing like more working hours meaning more results. In fact, quite the contrary is true. It is well known –any IT worker will vouch for this fact –that energy levels cannot be sustained at the same level for the entire duration of the working day. It keeps fluctuating, and the best productive work is when the energy level is high. Once it drops, all the creative juices dry up, and it takes quite a while to replenish them.

Flexible working hours, the solution

Given this scenario, to get the best out of information age employees, the organization should ideally permit flexible working hours. IT organizations can ask their employees to take breaks when their energy or creative levels drop and ask them to work when they feel rejuvenated. This sounds too theoretical, but if IT businesses show towards working hours the same flexibility and openness they have showed in embracing technology; their own productivity soars.

Needed –flexibility of outlook

It is not easy to synchronize the best spell of the working day of the various employees, but over time, the business can work out a way of getting the best out of its people with flexible working hours. It is worth the effort, because if they are forced to spend nine hours at the cubicle, most of this time is spent doing unnecessary work.This is all the most possible in a scenario where the web is the factory and the Internet is the die cast.

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