8 Hours per DayMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
The standard consideration of daily work hours is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. The point of discussion here is that the 8 hours per day work is really 8 hours of productive work and in reality is it really possible?
The Effort Estimates, the Project Schedule and all the project calculations are all based on the assumption that every resource will put in 8 hours of work every single day. Surprisingly, the majority of the readers will agree with the reality which suggests otherwise that it is not humanly possible but still we will find most of the managers planning their resources for 8 hours a day.
Studies and experience have shown that it is not possible for the resources, especially who have to work on desks like Software Development Industry, to keep their full concentration for long hours like 3-4 hours straight. This is one of the reasons, the resources are used to work in unusual manner and during unusual hours resultantly behave unusually.
This issue is very common and as a Manager, it creates a lot of difficulties to plan and manage any resource. The realistic approach would have to be to plan a resource for not more than 6 hours per day. It may initially sound a bit odd but that is the reality. If a resource is able to produce 6 productive hours per day then it should be assumed that the resource is putting in extra ordinary effort.
Also, in my opinion, apart from 6 hours of work, the resource needs time to relax and refocus. I always believe that 2 hours of daily assignment should be utilized for 2 things;
- In order to relax, the resources should indulge in some recreational activity. The resources can play games or can have a short nap etc.
- Some activity focusing on the “Personal Growth” of the resource should be encouraged. The resource can read Books, News and articles or participate in useful discussions on different forums or blogs etc. This can not only help in lowering stress levels and elevating motivation but also reflects in quality of work.
I have discussed in my other article “The Critical Path” how unrealistic addition to the planning causes the common delays. Planning a resource for 8 hours per day is one of those things that conflicts with the ground realities. If we talk about having a “Realistic Path” in planning then we have to consider all these factors in our planning. The Executive Management needs to understand this reality and similarly it has to be conveyed to Sales teams that they have this factor in mind while negotiating sales etc.
Glaveski, S. (2018, 12 11). The Case for the 6-Hour Workday. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-case-for-the-6-hour-workday