During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing workers pulled horrific hours — we’re talking around 100 hours per week of physically demanding labor. The Ford Motor Company saw this wasn’t working and adopted the 40-hour, five-day workweek, and the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 made it standard. But over the years, the number of hours we work has steadily crept back up.
Americans find it harder and harder to shut off work, especially since it’s now so easy to take work home via smartphones and laptops. In an era where people are pulling increasingly longer hours, it may seem like heresy to suggest powering down the computer by 5 p.m. Why is it so hard to do?
Some employees are worried they will look like a slacker who doesn’t prioritize their job above all else, especially if everyone else stays late — and especially they have colleagues who regularly respond to emails at midnight. Some have bosses who pressure them to stay long hours or give them a hard time if they try to leave at a reasonable time. Perhaps some are easily distracted, lack discipline, or are not terribly skilled at prioritizing, and they simply feel that they have to stay late in order to finish certain tasks.
But it’s worth leaving work on time; I promise — if for no other reason to get outside and enjoy the sunshine during the glorious long summer days. Here’s why you should reorganize your workload and find a better work/life balance by leaving at a reasonable time.