A Waste of Time

Links to hi res poster at end of article

I’ve come to a conclusion; perhaps we are not working long enough hours and we should be making better use of our time at work!! I can hear the cocking of hammers and pulling of triggers as I write this; please don’t shoot the messenger and hear me out.

I keep reading everywhere how unproductive employees are; especially in the public sector. On the other hand, I hear moaning and groaning from people who lament their long working hours, tedious weeks, never-ending months and even of complete Anni horribilis.

I couldn’t resist, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do a little maths exercise which turned out to be both interesting and somewhat brutal. I realise that there are a lot of people who really do work very long hours, who work on weekends and holidays or during the night. Hats off to them for sacrificing their time; this post does not apply to them…move on, there’s nothing to see here.

Now, before I’m lynched by the mathematical purist amongst you, please consider the criteria I adopted for this exercise.

1. The basis of this study is the traditional Gregorian calendar. Perhaps one day I’ll try with the Chinese or Maya variety.

2. I know that a year is actually 365.25 days, that’s why we have leap years to adjust for it. For the sake of clarity it just looks better without all those pesky decimals. Remember, I’m not Einstein and this is not about quantum mechanics. If you want rocket science then move on, nothing to be seen here.

3. I based my calculations on a few constants.

– 8 hour working day; your average 9 to 5’er working Monday to Friday. We are talking roughly 40 odd hours per week.

– Typical office worker with the chance to skive or shirk off when the opportunity arises. I’ve averaged an hour a day is wasted in attending to personal affairs.

– Classic 4 week vacation, even if not taken all at once.

– An average of 8 days of Public holidays even if it varies from country to country.

– Compulsory lunch and tea/coffee breaks, another hour a day; considering a few unscheduled breaks as well.

– I haven’t gone into time wasted through using the internet at work for personal pleasure. This is a touchy subject and statistics vary from place to place. With the advent of smartphones I think the situation is even worse than before so we won’t go there…moving on.

– Finally, commuting to and from work didn’t come into the equation because, theoretically, one is not at work whilst travelling even if most people consider it as part of their workday. In fact, it would be very interesting to compare this analysis to the work schedule of employees who work from home. If one remains disciplined I can see home based employment being much more productive.

Right, if all this is satisfactory for everyone then you may click here to get your A3 sized pdf version of my artwork that tries to analyse how your regular worker’s year is spent and why I stick by my opening statement that we should be making the most of our 8 hours at work; in the end we are actually only working for one third of the year.

Hope you enjoyed this article and Happy Blogging.

Enzo 🙂

For a higher resolution version of the artwork click here. Warning: BIG 12Mb file 4961px x 3508px.


3 thoughts on “A Waste of Time

    • LOL, that can work. 😀

      You probably won’t believe this but maths was my worst subject in school…I suffer from a mild form of dyscalculia (number dyslexia) so this article took ages to work out. 🙂
      Let’s say that I like to challenge my disabilities.
      Thanks again for your feedback, Carmen. 🙂

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