The expanding workday

Does your boss get a little ornery if you’re late for work? If not, perhaps it’s because you have a smartphone.

A survey by data protection company Mozy, out today says 73 percent of bosses “have a relaxed attitude to time keeping because staffers are working flexible hours beyond 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.”

“Flexible hours” is code for “working more when they should be off work.”

One in five employees has checked work email by 7 in the morning and the average employee has spent 46 minutes working before ever getting to the office.

The survey of American, British, German, and Irish workers found that although employees leave their workplace around 5:48 p.m., they don’t stop fully working until about 7:19 p.m., Mashable reported.

And yet, even though the survey showed people are working about 12 hours a day, half of those surveyed said they worry their boss will be mad at them if they arrive late for work.

  • Chuck

    I used to have a supervisor who reliably walked through the cubicle area of my department at 5 minutes to 4 o’clock–quitting time–every day. Lord help those who had already left for the day, even if they had gotten into the office early. I’m glad to learn that more bosses are becoming a bit more relaxed, but I’m pretty skeptical that it’s a very large fraction of the total number of bosses.

  • The results of the study don’t surprise me and it tracks two trends I’ve noticed at places I’ve worked at in the past.

    The first is the somewhat ironic fact that the more your job depends on spending time online and immersed in social media, the more your employer is going to insist on you sitting in front of a computer in their office. Which undercuts the whole advantage of an online job.

    The second thing is that I’ve found having that easy email and phone access means that you can never get away from your job. One recent job provided me with a company phone and laptop. But it meant that my boss expected me to reply instantly if he sent me an email at midnight or 5am. That technology turned into a trap and it transformed how I felt about the job.

    I love technology but it often just turns into another way for someone to get more work out of me for the same price.

    I don’t dislike long days. Working for myself, I’m frequently putting in 12+ hour days. But even now I can step away for a few minutes, which wasn’t an option when I worked for someone else.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your smartphones?!?

    The nice thing about being an adult is that we have the power to make choices. Choices of course have consequences. ( For example, work fewer hours=have less money=buy fewer toys, but have more freedom?)

  • allie

    One of the perks of being a grunt (i.e., non-manager/supervisor) at the State of Minnesota?

    You get in trouble if you work more than 40 hours per week.

    We don’t get paid much, but we do know how to do the work-life balance thing. And that’s worth a lot.

  • Kassie

    Allie, as a State employee I don’t know what you are talking about. I often put in more than 40 hours and no one says a thing about it. I check my email as soon as I get up, I check it right before bed. I put in time on weekends and evenings. I don’t have a work phone, but I use my personal smartphone to log into webmail or my personal laptop.

    Oh, and I’m late to work almost every single day, but usually less than 15 minutes late.

  • Bonnie

    I feel like I work around the clock, monitoring email etc., but part of the time I’m reading Newscut…

  • Dan

    Isn’t this the nature of late capitalism or what Adorno calls the culture industry? Those things which are held as promises of emancipation become precisely that which chains us to the factory floor, as it were.

    Not only work, but news–I can hear about how horrible the economy is on my phone (I don’t even have to buy a paper or wait for the news). I am constantly inundated with that message, which of course, makes me cling to my desk for dear life/career no matter how unreasonable my boss may be.

    So, what I’m saying is that the long hours shouldn’t surprise us.

  • matt

    If all of us checking our work emails from sunup to well past sundown were “working” from 9-5 there would be a little less at home work. Following news online, looking at stock prices, conversing with a co-worker about the Twins game, etc. A lot of people still working 8 hours just spreading it over 12. If your employer said as soon as you have completed your work you are free to leave for the day – pay remains the same – there would be a lot of us working 5-6 hour days. Face time, late time stamps on emails, all of that is just part of the game.

    Jim Shapiro has it dead on. I have made my choice and have chosen freedom…a little over 6 months until my retirement from the corporate world. My one goal is not to make more money, but rather to make the same amount of money and go from 50 hours/week to 30.