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Working takes over half of our total time, so how do we spend it? Are we working effectively enough to satisfy our employer or ourselves? The more time becomes monotonous, the more people are pushed to a routine. What happens with the efficacy?

Working effectively is what we are expected from the employers perspective. Naturally, the company, the shareholders and everyone who is linked to it – expect result. So if the company is well known, future workers are willing to join it. Willingness to work for a well known company is similar to a well known brand of the product which people want to use. Does this guarantee a success of such recruitment?

Naturally upon joining a new company, people are telling and promise the result. So in the end, if there is a gap between the promise and the result – who is in charge of it?

Our daily life typically starts with boosters. Alarm clock wakes up us in alert, we jump out of bed and rush for the coffee mug. Afterwards jump into a tube or a car and spend even more time – still in rush and traffic jams. Ok, so finally we made it, we just entered the office, and yet starts another day – of the Win, or of the Loss?

People are not the same. Someone needs a directive manager, the other is a self-starter. Its all about the cycle of professional growth, but its not the topic of this article. The question I bring here – what happens to our productivity with time? And how to maintain efficacy in work to both stay happy – the company and the employee.


A recent research about professional performance was posted in the Harvard Business Review by Shawn Acher and Michelle Gielan. Questions they raise is having rest and the resuming for work. Does this ensure us to stay resilient to a “burnout” syndrome.

So what do we know about “burnout” syndrome? According to the article of Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, “A stressful lifestyle can put people under extreme pressure, to the point that they feel exhausted, empty, burned out, and unable to cope.” But in fact there is no such disease known as “burnout”. Anyway, enough about terminology, what about the impact to normal life?

It was long believed that americans were one of the most “overworked” nation. Perhaps because just few of employees we know took vacations over the past year? Interestingly, this myth was denied by OECD research, which reveals that only 11,7% of employees in USA were working more than 50 hours per week or more, to compare with Japan, where 21,9% of employees were working long hours, on contrary to Sweden – where only 1,1 % of employees worked long hours.

Giving the latest developments, Sweden experimented on 6-hour work day back in 2015. Interestingly the study nearly achieved all of the goals: people claimed they were happier, less stressed, however it was too pricey for the government. Despite official 6-hour day was not implemented, but it found applicability in few IT companies, where focus on the task must be well balanced with joy for work and most important – it pays off to do so.

Karōshi (過労死?), which can be translated literally as “overwork death” in Japanese, is occupational sudden mortality. The major medical causes of karōshi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress and a starvation diet. This phenomenon is also widespread in South Korea, where it is referred as gwarosa (과로사/過勞死). In China, overwork-induced suicide is called guolaosi (过劳死).


Perhaps the culture has its stake too in work efficacy and working hours. Such evidence you can see while comparing East and West, Asia and Europe.

While working in China I experienced the difference in culture of work too. To be precise, the difference in cultural approach to work. Europeans are used to flexible working hours, whereas self motivation for work is high and most important – for the work to be accomplished well. Chinese however, when experienced failure, they emphasise specific term: “I will work harder.” In fact I’d expect people to focus on efficacy, not the length of the work. Even the efforts will blur away if you have to keep on working long, so the efficacy will drop down.


One trend is clear, over the recent years companies try to be more socially integrated with the employees avoiding a “burnout” syndrome while competing for talent maintenance. That is the story of the big companies. But even small companies or agencies, especially those dealing with the creativity issues, allow employees bring children to work, some even have dedicated playgrounds, or establish the rule for bringing pets on specific days to work.

Employees have their other roles in life too, as mother, father, pet owner, where they struggle sometimes to find a balance of their work and personal life, otherwise the business life will suffer. Unless you will burnout by trying to prove you can work harder.

Movies and magazines with glossy front pages of successful people who achieved much in this life are typical icons of glorified overwork. But the recovery after the “burnout” is too costly for both – company and the employee.

NY times had reported few years ago: “..Yahoo set off a nationwide debate about workplace flexibility, productivity and creativity..” while “..Google’s various offices and campuses around the globe reflect the company’s overarching philosophy, which is nothing less than to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world..”

In the nutshell, focus on your goal, work hard but with efficiency. Take breaks for peace of mind and you will be surprised how much of the second breath you’ve got there. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems: need for recovery was a major predictor of psychosomatic complaints, sleep complaints, and complaints of emotional exhaustion.

Simply diverting your thoughts elsewhere, a deep breath for a minute can get you back on track fast. And after work try to switch off your thoughts over work tasks – this ain’t do any good for you. Spend your time walking or simply enjoy your time. This surely will help you keep fresh and running, full of juice for efficient work, for your another day of the Win.