I was asked to give my point of view on a local radio programme today, regarding the latest government statistics about the increase in the amount of time the average employee spends at work. The argument was that the average worker in the UK works harder than their EU counterparts.
To me, the statistic says we are working longer, not harder. To be working harder, the statistic would be about output, results, even job satisfaction; not about how long we sit at our desks.
As a freelancer, I am always conscious about how I am valued. I have learnt that my value is assessed first and foremost by whether I get the job done. How long I will take, or how much I will charge is a secondary issue. If I do the job well, but take longer to do it than is really necessary just makes me more expensive, not better. Who do you know that would pay for unnecessary hours, or for poor quality?
And yet, that is what many employers do. They pay workers to be at their desks, measuring their contribution in time and cost, not quality. This charade is also played by employees, who are willing to put in extra time at work for free, perhaps hoping that this show of commitment secures their place in the company.
Do you value each employee by their cost, by how much time they spend at work, or by what they do for you?