Article > Opinion

Ever Thought About Your Productivity?

By Gerald Wheelus

Production is what we are all about when it gets down to it.
Gerald Wheelus
If you have ever wondered why you start to feel like your patience runs thin on Thursday or that you were not keeping up with everything on Friday and on Saturday you just do not care anymore, you suffer from the same problem as countless other Americans do.

The diagnosis? Simply too many hours. Henry Ford said of his decision to make the standard work week an eight-hour per day, five-day-a-week schedule: “It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either ‘lost time’ or a class privilege.”

With this statement, Ford ushered in the five-day, 40-hour work week. This standard, as many of Ford’s standards did, changed most of the United States. Ford believed that overworked employees were less productive and that cost him money. So, his methods weren’t just based on trying to be a great humanitarian but also rooted in the quest to make more money.

Production is what we are all about when it gets down to it. We have to be productive for the employer or we are not going to have a job for long. It’s up to us to keep the doors open through that productivity.  
If, at the end of the work week, we are turning customers away, because our attitudes are less than they should be, we are being unproductive. And many times, this is the result of actually working too many hours.  

How many is too many? It’s hard to put a number on that. In the automotive aftermarket parts business, it has to do with the days and the types of customers you have to deal with. Yes, the types of customers. Customers can be difficult and some are more difficult than others.  The very difficult ones zap energy from us and diminish our good attitudes, especially late in the work week. But that’s never a good excuse. So we have to better manage ourselves.

Forty hours is a minimum (if not unheard of) work week for most of us.  However, most of us are approaching that by the end of Thursday’s work day.  So how productive are we on Friday? Well, only you and your employer can answer that. However, the employer offers us an incentive called overtime pay. Usually, it is time and a half, which makes for a fairly big pay raise for every hour worked over 40.

Overtime. If you get it, it’s supposed to be the incentive (it’s the law, in some cases) to keep our work ethic intact and continue to be as productive and efficient as we were in the first 40 hours. Unfortunately, many around us begin to lose our productivity, patience and self-disciple, causing our jobs to be more difficult.  
Think of it this way: For every hour of overtime pay someone gets, that is 1.5 hours that is spent. If you work 50 hours that is 15 hours that the employer could have paid someone else at straight time and possibly relieved you of the added stress and relieved the impatience you had suffered due to being overworked in the week. Let’s take a $10 hourly wage, for example.

$10  X 40 = $400
$10  X 40 = $400 plus 10 hours at overtime pay = $10  X 1.5 X 10 hours = $550.00

That is nearly two full days off for you, the overworked employee. 

The question is: Which is best for all involved? You and your employer can only answer that question.
My take? Simply stated, use the overtime pay as it is intended — as an incentive to work harder after 40 hours — or give the time and overtime pay back to the employer and let them hire someone else who will be more productive in those 15 hours.

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