Burnout Management Coach Says Working Eight Hours A Day Is Ridiculously Outdated

Nov 20, 2020 by apost team

A 40 hour work week that is split into 8-hour workdays is the most common practice around the world when it comes to jobs. The "9 to 5" is a staple in business timings with almost all companies having standardized it to be this way. However, burnout management coach Emily Ballesteros explains that this archaic practice, which helped industry 100 years ago, is no longer relevant in our new globalized world. Her TikTok video from earlier this month explains why this matters.  

The term "burnout" was first coined by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974, after which interest in studying what it means and how it can manifest grew. Today, burnout is recognized more easily and is treated widely across all industries as work pressures continue to rise. Occupational burnout particularly can be described as "feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and reduced professional efficacy."

Emily Ballesteros works as a burnout management coach and has been sharing videos on her TikTok channel on various topics to educate more people about this phenomenon. One of her recent videos has recently gained a lot of traction and has been watched almost 1.6 million times. 


In the video, she addresses the current 8-hour workday and 40-hour workweek, highlighting the issues they bring in today's rapidly changing world. She begins by explaining how the 8-hour workday came into existence: the thought arose from an even split of 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of rest, which would then be repeated all over again, reports Bored Panda. However, the idea was established when there was only one industry that dominated the industrial settling: manufacturing. 

Specifically, it was Henry Ford who first came up with the 8-hour work schedule. Following this, she says in her video, "We went wrong in two places. The first is that Ford worked in manufacturing, which means someone standing somewhere for eight hours doing approximately the same task does yield a certain amount of productivity. We have rolled over this eight-hour framework into industries where it just does not make sense. There are so many industries that are project-based where you don't need eight hours, and by just having someone keep themselves busy for eight hours, you're losing so much productivity."

The second reason the 8-hour workday worked at the time was that women tended to stay at home and take care of the household, there were no long commutes that would eat into the day, and the technology was far different: work from home was impossible when you had to work in a factory, and you couldn't bring your work home either, says Emily in her video

She also adds, "This was created by one man, in one industry, 100 years ago and we have not improved it. Every industry needs to do some critical thinking and figure out what framework works best."

Once her video went viral, she spoke to Buzzfeed about what motivated her to speak out about this topic. Her main aim by creating the video was to bring attention to the model's inefficacy in today's industry. She adds, "This framework is outdated and should be updated and customized by industry. In most modern, project-based industries, productivity cannot be measured by hours spent working as they could be in industrial and manufacturing work."

She also addresses the current culture that encourages 'work ethic' and 'having hustle,' which can lead people to compromise on their quality of life. While some people love the hustle and pushing themselves to the max, some people are working to support their family and have a good work/life balance.

"I’ve had a variety of professional positions, some where eight hours was too much time, and some where it wasn’t enough. Demands of a role depend on a number of factors, including industry, company culture, leadership expectations, and the predictability and urgency of your day-to-day tasks". She urges leaders to think critically about their roles and how they can complete their tasks more efficiently rather than relying on an outdated framework. 

When it comes to making changes, she elaborates that it is not a "one size fits all" solution but should be dependent on the industry. However, the two best solutions that she believes could work are: six-hour days and Result Only Work Environments (ROWE). Some countries have already adopted the 6 hour workdays and have implemented in some companies and countries already, and "many employees report greater focus and productivity throughout the workday due to condensed deadlines" she says. 

Emily also has her own experiences with burnout, which prompted her to seek a career as a burnout coach. She is hopeful that in the future, companies will attempt to make large scale changes that can be the best solution for their industry as well as their employees. 

"We will not make progress without experimentation and data collection. If a company is interested in making a change, they should try it on a trial basis, track results, get feedback, and then try again. If they hate it, they can always return to the way things are," she adds.

What do you think about the 40 hour work week? Do you think industries need to make changes? Let us know your opinions in the comments below, and be sure to share this with a friend so that they too can tell you what they think. 

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