Understanding Productivity After 8 Hours
While the current work week for many people is 40 hours worked across five days, this does not always mean that people work these hours in five days. In some cases, time taken off for doctor's visits, making up time for coming in late and other factors can result in working a nine hour or more day. However, after eight hours, productivity can result in an endless cycle of falling behind.
Typically, most people have cycles of time where they find themselves most productive. In fact, Information Week put out a great article back in 2002 where they showed that Kelloggs found that allowing their employees to work six hour days actually resulted in better productivity. What was not particularly clear was the reason for this increase. However, it was projected that employees were enjoying their off work hours far more and this may have been a contributing factor.
Some of the hazards of working long days include safety hazards. Employees who work in physically demanding jobs may find that they suffer from afternoon "shutdown" and may result in them paying less attention to safety measures. This can often result in accidents occurring on the job. In the cases of mentally taxing jobs such as air traffic controllers, those who work past a standard work day may even find themselves sleeping on the job, creating very hazardous conditions.
Employees who do not work at physical jobs such as programmers, writers, clerks, and other types of desk jobs are not free from a loss of productivity. While these jobs may not include physical labor, they do require mentally taxing work and as a result, the longer the day, the lower the productivity.