The Scandinavian Secret To True Productivity: The Americans Are Doing Everything Wrong.


Scandinavian Productivity

Today, I want to address people who brag about their 50-hour, or even 70-hour, working week.


A busy working week as such is certainly no joke. It is, truly, a massive sacrifice.


Many people would never be able to keep up with such rhythms.


In short, it is a huge undertaking comparable to that of an athlete’s work at international level. They should host an Olympics to reward those who spend their lives at work more than others.


I commend you, “hard-working athletes”, for the courage you have had in wasting so much time of your life in vain.


This is not just an article aimed at you, dear American free-lancer friend, this is a general reflection that we should all make for the sake of our beloved U.S.A.


And, immediately, I will explain the reasons for my statement, with the hope that this article of mine can be shared many times and be useful for the future of our country.




Scandinavian Productivity

This is the first thing that should make you realize that your aspirations up until now have been wrong.


A fact rooted in the common imagination of many is that more hours of work is equal to more productivity, and therefore more wealth.


This is not at all correct!


We are all involved in this perverse mechanism:


· Employers try to make employees work as long as possible, believing they are doing this for the good of their company. Some employers work even longer than their own employees.


· Employees are satisfied because they think they will get richer by spending twelve hours a day at work.


If you are an entrepreneur and you propose to your employees to work more than eight hours a day, I have to let you know, friend: you are fucking up big time.


This work strategy that we are implementing here, in the U.S., is harming businesses, employees and, as a consequence, our economy.


A very interesting CNBC article highlights a wildly worrying fact: nearly half of US workers say they work 50 hours a week or more. In many instances, without even being paid for their overtime work.


For employees, these are the true ‘work martyrs.’ But, surely, sacrificing all of your free time (that you could, instead, devote to your family, the company of your friends, your passions, etc.) in exchange for cash rewards from your employer is not a good deal? Tn reality, they are wasting their whole life on a few extra bills.


And, exactly what do we entrepreneurs gain from this actual sacrifice of life from our employees?


I will tell you, friend: unproductivity!


According to a recent Stanford University study:


· After exceeding 50 hours of work per week, the productivity of a worker drops dramatically.


· After 55 hours, productivity drops precipitously!


· And, lastly, if you reach the extreme case of 70 hours of work per week, the reality is that, even with those extra fifteen hours, workers cannot produce anything of extra value.


· Not to mention the “burnout” phenomenon. Once reached, the employee pays for medical assistance out of his pocket and will no longer be able to be productive, and therefore useful, to the company.


According to Gallup statistics:


· Full-time U.S. workers work an average of 47 hours per week compared to the full-time standard, which should be 40 hours.


· Only 8% of full-time workers work a maximum of 40 hours a week.


· 12% of full-time workers have at least one other job.


· Only 4 out of 10 workers work 40 standard hours, the rest work much longer.


· Even 1 in 5 people work 60 hours a week. This means working 12 hours a day, sacrificing weekends and holidays!





According to Kotler and Wheal, based on a poll by Gallup:


· 48% of workers constantly feel anxious due to uncontrolled work rhythms.


· 52% report feeling very stressed.


· Emails and smartphones make people prisoners of work even more as, without realizing it, they sacrifice the little free time they have available for work matters.


A very interesting article in Forbes reports that:


· Only 23% of workers actually dedicate themselves to participating in other activities during their free time, thereby completely disconnecting from work.


· The vast majority of workers report that they dedicate themselves to work during their free time and vacations.


· Americans tend to sacrifice their vacations because they are afraid of falling behind with work. Or they fear that their collogues would not be able to carry the work out as well as they do.


· Absurdly, vacations are a source of anxiety and guilt to American workers. So, for them, these are even worse moments of life than when they are in the office.


In conclusion, the employers and employees of the U.S.A. have lost sight of the true essence of humanity.


The way they reason is about working hours, as if there even existed a direct correlation between the number of hours we spend in the office and productivity, or wealth.


As I have just shown you, the reality is that there is a delicate threshold at the 50-hour work week point, beyond which productivity drops drastically.


We have to get it into our heads that we are not fucking robots, our brains are not machines. If we push it too far beyond the natural limits, we face two very serious consequences:


(1) Wasting our lives away.


(2) Psycho-physical exhaustion therefore dramatic increase in public spending.


In relation to these consequences…


(1) Harvard economist, Sendhil Mullainathan, wrote in the New York Times:


 “When you play with time, you borrow from tomorrow, then you have less time tomorrow than you did today… It is a very expensive loan.”


(2) In one of his scientific articles, “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health”, we are warned that:


· The leading cause of death in the United States are cardiovascular diseases.


· If we continue with this trend 2030, this statistic will increase by 35-40%.


· The increase in this percentage is directly correlated to work stress.


· This will lead to a frightening increase in health care costs, which will triple to approximately $818 billion.


Thus, the inhumane work rhythms of our times are leading to, not only people’s unhappiness and a productivity decrease in the workplace, but, also, in the long run, to an impoverishment of the United States of America which will be faced with enormous healthcare costs in the future.




Scandinavian Productivity

From the “World Happiness Report”, we know that the happiest country in the world is Denmark. Followed by other Scandinavian countries, such as: Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.


And what is the key trait that makes this population happier than all the others on Earth?


The length of its working week!


The average working week is 38 hours, not more! They are very productive; they even leave their jobs at 4 or 5 in the afternoon.


Additionally, they also devote themselves to their own interests, family and friends. They have a great respect for their family and for their free time, as claimed by Dorte Riggelsen, the consul general of Denmark in New York.


The average American worker is given an average of 16 days off a year, of which, only 25% of Americans fully take advantage of. In fact, the average number of days off is reduced to four days and, additionally, 15% of Americans say they do not even take one day off.


In Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, it is not uncommon to take three weeks off! And they are considered the happiest countries in the world.


These nations teach us that the hours of work should be few but taken seriously, and made as productive as possible.


For the happiest populations in the world, the quality of the time spent at work matters more than the quantity; we Americans tend to concentrate on quantity.


Unfortunately, we now have this belief rooted in our brains that more time spent working corresponds, in a linear way, to more productivity.


But, as I presented to you today through scientific and statistical data, our brains do not work like machines, we are not robots!


At some point, we stop working productively. We Americans who are ‘marathon runners at work’, like any self-respecting sportsman, should understand that unnaturally increasing the hours of work does not allow us to obtain benefits but, on the contrary, serious consequences.


As we have seen, continuing at this rate will see us triple healthcare spending due to the negative effects caused by work stress by 2030.


According to expert Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award winner, to be happy, Americans should:


· Engage in part-time jobs for a maximum of 30-35 hours per week.


· Take six weeks of vacation a year, completely separating your mind from work.


This is the only way we can become closer to the Scandinavian model and be happier, increasing our productivity and wealth.


So, for the respect and dignity of American workers, to improve the quality of life and, above all, to increase the productivity of companies and reduce public costs, the government should:


· By law, establish a maximum of 38 hours per week for all American workers.


· Give each worker the opportunity to take six weeks a year of vacation and sanction the employers who expect their employees to respond to emails when on vacation.


· From a school age, we should rediscover the value of family and free time.


This is the only way we can save our beloved U.S.A. and be the first, undisputed world economic power.


If not for us, let us do it at least for our children and for the glory of our U.S.A.


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Alias Nick Nite is the founder of Cofylo and is an Italian entrepreneur who is almost a millionaire. He was born in Santa Margherita Ligure in the region of Genoa. He has always been passionate about Tech.

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