I’ve been working full-time for over a year now, after having worked several part-time jobs and being a full-time university student, and I have some thoughts. I know there are a lot of articles on working full-time, an endless amount actually and I’ll link some good ones at the end, but I wanted to contribute in the hopes that one day full-time hours change. I will just be sharing what it is like to work full-time and how it is, without a doubt, the worst thing for your physical and mental health.
Let’s start with some math. Yes I know, but bear with me here. A full-time job calls for a 40 hour work week. That’s 8 hours a day, not including lunch. Lunch is normally an hour, you’re at work for 45 hours a week. Now let’s add in the commute. Most people (in America) commute for 45 minutes to an hour, generally an hour because of traffic (few are lucky enough to have a 30 minute commute). That’s one hour to work, and one hour back, that brings us up to 55 hours a week dedicated to work. Let’s not forget prep time! Most people wake up at least an hour before their commute to get ready, sometimes shower. 5 days a week, that’s an extra 5 hours, bringing us up to 60 hours. That is roughly 60 hours each week dedicated to work in some capacity. So already the 40 hour work week is incorrect. There are 168 hours in a week, and 60 of them go to work, or more for people who have even longer commutes, prep-time, or overtime.
What about per day? There are 24 hours in a day. We already know that an 8 hour day is actually 9 because of lunch, plus 2 hours for commute time and 1 hour for prep. That’s 11 hours, or 10-12 depending on the person, but we will work with 11 in this example. That leaves 13 hours right? Well, you have to sleep, and the recommended amount of sleep is about 8 hours. So now we’re left with 5 hours. Do you cook and eat dinner? 4 hours left. You have roughly 4 hours at the end of each work day to yourself, if that.
Full-time jobs have the audacity to wonder why people are so tired when “you’re only working 40 hours!” By technically yes, but they are not accounting for everything else we broke down above. What about the weekend? Well, generally everything you can’t get done during the week, which is basically anything, has to be done on the weekend. Errands, cleaning, time with friends, too much happens in a two-day period. When is there time to rest? Sunday is barely a weekend because you have to go to bed like it’s a work night.
Remember, there are 168 hours in a week. 60 are spent dedicated to work and 56 are meant for sleeping. That only leaves 52 hours to cram in hobbies, errands, friends, cleaning, and whatever else you do. Plus, work nights are rarely spent on these things unless it’s an immediate need or a dedicated individual, so that leaves you with 32 hours on the weekend. That’s just over a full day, but we’re expected to go to work for the other 5 days? No wonder everyone is tired all the time!
Are there any solutions? Yes, working from home and/or a 32 hour work week, but they will take boycotts, walk-outs, unions, strikes, and who knows what else to get companies to even listen. Some companies learned from covid that working from home is still as efficient and beneficial for everyone, but not enough got the message. Let’s discuss both solutions.
Working from home. Out of the two solutions, this one is more feasible and achievable, if people stand-up for it. Working from home makes an 8 hour work day and actual 8 hour work day, if not less. You don’t have to get up to prep (unless you have a virtual meeting but even then), you don’t have to commute, you can do other tasks while working, and you don’t have office distractions. One thing very few people seem to talk about is office distractions. At work, you may not have enough work to fill an 8 hour day, but there are plenty of people and things in the office to pass the time. But at home, aside from your own home distractions such as pets, you can most likely get your 8 hour work day done in 4-5. Home can become a tailored environment for people to be more productive. Yes, there are some people who prefer the office, and that’s fine! The point is it should be an option for people to work from home, at least for 3 out of the 5 days, so they don’t feel as miserable and hate their job as much.
32 hour work week. This may be far more difficult to achieve, but it would shift the office energies everywhere. As mentioned before, there is not enough work to fill an 8 hour work day, especially 5 days a week. If the week was shortened by one, people would have more time to relax and recover on the weekend, do things they like, and have a better attitude towards work. They’d have a bit more to do in the day, which would help the day pass, and overall improve morale. I know some office jobs are actually busy every minute of every hour of the 8 hour day, but from what I have observed, on average people only have about 4-5 hours of work to do a day, on a busy day.
On a side note…part time should be 20-25 hours a week, as it is PART TIME. You shouldn’t be at work more than 3 days a week. Just something to consider.
Your coworkers may have discussed some of these things already, but now it’s time to do something about it. Push for more work from home, get the hour lunch to be included in the 8 hours not extra, or find a job that fits your working style better. We need to change the office space if we want to change society. Yes, there are jobs that can’t be done from home, but there are too many that can be done at home to ignore the need for a shift!
I am tired of being tired. I used to say I wasn’t built for a full-time job, and I was 100% right. Do you feel the same?
Thank you for reading my breakdown of why a full-time job is asking too much. Best of luck getting your office to change, and follow for more interesting content!
40 Hour Work Week
Working from Home Articles:
32 Hour Work Week Articles: