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In my work I try to create value 100% of the time. I see that the average employee dedicates a much more inferior amount of time, say 70-80%.

Today, I'm not really convinced that the 30-20% difference is being really appreciated in my reviews.

Decreasing intensity in my work would of course lower the stress in my days.

My question is: What would the right thing to do?, taking things less intense giving more room in my estimations?, raising this concern with my boss?.

I have no intentions of talking about other peers, I feel that wouldn't be professional. But I don't want either to work 20-30% harder with nothing in return.

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    Can you elaborate a bit on them working 70-80% of the time? Are they literally in the office 70-80% of the required hours (i.e. 28-32 hours for a 40 hours week)? Or are they on Facebook / Youtube / breaks / extended lunch 20-30% of the time? Or are you perhaps putting in 125-143% of your required hours (so they're just working 70-80% of your hours, but still putting in their 40 or how-many-ever hours)? – Dukeling Apr 21 '14 at 2:26
  • The second. Non-working time is dedicated to FB, Youtube, breaks, extended lunch, chatting, etc. – Matthew Azkimov Apr 21 '14 at 12:12
  • No idea. Your question leaves out too much data. Do you shovel dirt for a living, or do you do brain work? Some people who put in less time then you do could actually get more done than you. I am congenitally lazy. If someone asks me to do something and tells me it's going to take three days, I will get indignant and spent 30 minutes figuring out how to do it with less time and effort - and I am usually successful in my quest :) And of course, I train the staff on how to get it done in the way I worked out. Unfortunately for me, that's how I end up with the toughest assignments :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 21 '14 at 15:52
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    related: How to communicate my own working pace? – gnat Apr 21 '14 at 16:50
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    What's your goal here? You fishing for a raise because you work harder? Trying to justify slacking off? Hoping your boss will bust out the cat-o'-nine-tails and whip your colleagues until they work as hard as you? Seriously, before you can get a good answer on what to do, you have to know (and tell us) why you're wanting to do this in the first place. – HopelessN00b Apr 21 '14 at 18:18
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My question is: What would the right thing to do?, taking things less intense giving more room in my estimations?, raising this concern with my boss?.

I have no intentions of talking about other peers, I feel that wouldn't be professional. But I don't want either to work 20-30% harder with nothing in return.

There's no such thing as "optimal" across different people, organizations, and industries. Optimal for you means one thing. Optimal for someone else is likely to be different. However, you can choose a course of action once you decide your goal.

If your goal is to work only to the extent that you are directly and immediately rewarded, then you should experiment. Slack off, and see if your review/compensation suffers. If it does, then ramp up the intensity of your work. If your review doesn't suffer, then slack off more until it does. Eventually, you'll reach an "optimal" point where more work isn't compensated the way you would like, so you can stop working any harder.

If on the other hand your idea of "optimal" includes self-satisfaction, learning for the future, working hard to make the day pass quickly, or just enjoying your work, then your actions may well be different.

First decide what you are looking for from your work, then let your actions be guided by that understanding.

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Lower stress can lead to higher productivity, so there is some value in doing what you're considering. However, everyone's different. Perhaps you can work at full productivity 100% of the time, while others can only do so at 70-80% of the time, requiring breaks to clear their head (although 70-80% sounds rather low).

The fact that you haven't done something like this and appear to largely be considering it because that's what everyone else it doing tells me something - it tells me that, in all likelihood, you don't have a particularly large need to do this - to you, it's more a matter of doing the same amount of work as your peers (although it's also possible that you firmly believe you should be working 100% of the time).

And this also isn't a good mindset - the amount of hours and how hard someone works is between them and their manager. Assuming you're working near full productivity constantly, maybe you are being appreciated more than you think (perhaps they're just not as verbal about it) and there's a promotion in store for you at some point down the line. Working harder than your peers is likely to end up with you advancing faster than them.

So, the bottom line - ignore your peers' hours. If you're feeling particularly stressed or tired, take a break to clear your head - it might just raise your productivity.


Oh, and no, don't raise this issue with your boss (in case that point didn't come across clear enough above).

  • Thanks for your reply. I think the difference between me and my peers is that I take seriously the concerns of my boss about job-schedule and expected productivity. I guess my boss is smarter than I and he knows that almost everyone never works 100% of the time, so he pressures. – Matthew Azkimov Apr 21 '14 at 12:18

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