Do you think an 8 hour workday is too much?




Depends, read my comment below đź’¬

341 votes · NaN day

How much do you work every day? What does your employer demand?

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Ronald Roe's photo

After 18 years in the military, 8 hours feels like a part time job.

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K Thibault's photo

8 hours is too much. The military shouldn't be taken as a reference. Unless you aim to destroy everyone's mental health.

Ronald Roe's photo

If an 8 hour day is affecting your mental health, there's probably a deeper issue that the work day is just exacerbating. Maybe a clinical issue, or the work environment itself is unsafe.

Ben Buchanan (200ok)'s photo

Almost nobody works as long as they think they do. They're at work but they're not doing some kind of superhuman 100% productivity blast for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Most people have up and down days where they get a lot or a little done; and it averages out. Not to mention they have to prep for and attend meetings, take breaks to eat and so on. Working longer hours just pushes most people into the zone of diminishing returns.

Milica Maksimović's photo

Depends on the workplace.

Sometimes working 8 hours can feel like much longer, especially if your focus is low. Atm, I stay for 9h at the office and think that working for 8h is a better approach. So many of my colleagues just sit at their desk in the office because they're expected to, not because they have the focus to work effectively.

Working long hours ≠ working smart

Adron Hall's photo

Coder, Recon, Advocate, DataMonger

~6 hour work day is reasonable, and most people can actually give 100% then. Anything over that and the motivation to push harder really just plummets. Especially working for a corporate enterprise or something that is just a "job". But often one can push those hours a little bit if they're super motivated over something, but even then that starts to turn into burn out at a pretty quick pace. Usually it only takes about 6-12 months for someone to really have the burn out kick in and the apathy just builds up until they're giving about 20% for an 8 hour day, mostly sitting around and twiddling their thumbs while chatting around the water cooler.

Simply, keep the work day to about 6 hours and things are remarkably better for everybody involved over the long term. :)

Mark's photo

I spend around 8.0-8.5 hours at work excluding lunch (5 days a week).

I don't feel that its impossibly demanding. I think the most productive is between 6 and 8 hours (I think research supports something in that range).

Programming in free time is more fun than at work though, and I don't have a very expensive lifestyle, so someday I'd like to work 4 days a week... 20% less money, 50% more weekend!

Anuj Sharma's photo

Don't count working hrs. Focus on productive hrs. Doesn't matter you sit in office for 12 to 14 hrs and your productivity is zero. Try to build "working hrs means only working hrs attitude.

have a look

Mark's photo

Currently focussed on [every programming languages and all of the projects]

I get paid per sitting hour though...

Lars Graubner's photo

Software developer. Loves JavaScript, React and Node.js.

That's quite common if you are employed I guess...

Tommy Hodgins's photo

Too much what!? …Too much fun?

I'm self employed so I try to work as much as I can :D I have client work, as well as research and learning to do so it's often that I spend more than eight hours in a day working, but I have a little flexibility to structure that around when I am going to be able to capture the most of that flexibility.

I do think having a set 8-hour workday every day might not be the optimal way to capture human productivity though

Harry Moreno's photo

If working for a company full-time, I'd say 8 hours is too much and is unproductive. You can only focus on a problem for so long before you get distracted and lose motivation.

However, if working on something for yourself you should be pushing 11+ hours a day as a young person. This also means that if you have a fulltime job you should be putting in 4 hours per day after that to develop yourself. That can be working out or learning something new. You cannot depend on your employer forever.

Jeremy Likness's photo

If you're measuring a development job in terms of hours worked, you're doing it wrong. There are too many factors involved in a typical day of work for that to be a meaningful measure. 40 hour is a limit established by the Fair Labor Standards Act that assures overtime. Outside of that, it really doesn't have much meaningful context. Personally I think the 40 hour week (8 hour day) is fine, the bigger question is what you may or may not do beyond those 8 hours per day and how you break them up.

As a manager, I learned to value productivity over activity early in my career. I'm much more a fan of working smarter than harder. It's a quality many people admire, "Look how hard he/she works" but I'm not sure that applies to every job. Some jobs are more productive when you work harder, but in development there is definitely an exponential return on investment for working smarter.

Simply things like leveraging short cuts, snippets, using frameworks, learning how to troubleshoot quickly and effectively, following practices like TDD that uncover defects early in the process, all can lead to more productivity. Personally I think when people start mandating 50 hours, 60, etc. what most developers end up doing is pacing themselves or finding other things to fill the time without necessarily increasing their productivity. I've measured this on many projects and the solution is almost never to work more hours or add more people. Sure, there are sometimes "crunch times" where it makes sense but a lot of times finding the root cause for delays can be traced back to poor requirements, lack of testing, and bad technology choices.

So ... do I think 8 hours is too much? Not really, but I also think it's a meaningless measure for software productivity.

SĂ©bastien Portebois's photo

As Milica implied, 'demanding' employees to be there doesn't mean they will do efficient work for those hours. In my last companies, I've been lucky enough that the team members trust each other, and you organize your schedule like you want, as long as the job gets done. That means you can star very earlier or very late, leave early or late (I start before 8am, some coworkers start more than 2 hours after me, and that's fine). Sometimes there's more rush for something and everyone work more than 8 hours, but you can do and be efficient because you don't do it all year long. When you have some appointment or anything, you can leave super early and that's fine too. I also often work from home. Usually, when I do so, I work much more than 8 hours, but not straight and take many breaks or even a nap ;-)

Working as a team requires trust and everyone being professional, not policies to force people to try to work. And this is especially true for early-stage start-ups!

K Thibault's photo

Check out Mind work has been shown to decrease in quality after 5 hours a day.

K Thibault's photo

When I was a grad student, I'd work until I couldn't anymore, and that was 5 hours a day. It got me a Ph.D. in Physics.

K Thibault's photo

As a developer, going from 8 to 7.5 (current job) made a huge difference. That extra 30 minutes I'd always run on empty and I'd grow increasingly snappy at my loved one. I will not go back to 8 hours a day if I can help it. Never again. My mental health is worth more than this.

Ashok Acharya's photo

As from programmer prospective . work till you feel tired and need sleep....

Abhijith Prasad's photo

I think it depends on the type of problem, meaning assessing the critical you are solving and the experience and expertise you carry to get it a solution.

Josiah Berkebile's photo

This depends on your goals. If you have personal goals and desires outside of your job, the 40 hr week can be really restrictive and prevent you from really pursuing the things you care about. However, if you just want to hold down a job and cover the bills, 35-40 hrs/week is quite easy to do and still have plenty of leisure and self-care time.

I, myself, and full of ideas and curiosity, and have trouble finding the time to devote to all of the things I want to explore and concepts I want to build out. I work around my 40 hour job and still manage to stay in shape, spend quality time with my wife, pitch-in with the housework, and chip away at a few personal projects, but this does make for a fairly busy schedule and I must admit that I've had to adopt some daily practices for fostering mental and emotional consistency and control in order to keep this lifestyle.

As of right now, my aim is on holding down my current job to invest in things that can reduce my expenses and hopefully free myself up to work part-time and build up more independent (and more passive) styles of making money (b/vlogging, airbnb, writing ebooks, flipping websites, etc) so that I'm freer to work on some of my own ideas in software that I really believe in.

Jonathan cartwright's photo

We don't have to work 8 hrs but I usually do. I think the number of hours and what feels like too much depends on what you are doing. 8 hrs of meetings, documentation, or tedious codingand I'll be fried and exhausted. 8 hours of solving interesting problems and I am usually hungry for more.

Lars Schuitema's photo

A very generic question, as there are many factors that have to be taken into account. There are personal and work related factors. Examples of personal factors are: "How much are you enjoying your work?", "How long can you stay focussed while working on a task"?, "What's your sleep schedule like?", "What did you do on the weekend?" or "What's your eating pattern?". Work factors are: "What type of work are you doing?", "What's the company's culture like?", "Are employees keeping each other motivated?" or "Are you working on a task alone or as a group?". All these factors have an impact on the outcome of the question, whether working 8 hours works well for you or not.
Some of these factors are variable and therefor I can say from personal experience, that each day is different. When talking about "productive hours", is it possible to work 8 hours a day on regular working day? Yes and no. No, because there will always be random events, that interrupt your work and lead to a decrease of productivity, such as: a colleague that needs your help or unplanned meetings. Given the examples, does that mean your inproductive? You're not finishing your tasks maybe, but you are helping the company, so you are in fact being productive. And yes, because you can improve your life in a lot of ways, for example by patternizing your daily activities, so that every regular working day is exactly the same e.g.: strict sleep schedule, healthy diet, daily walks outside when you have an office job, limit caffeine intake to the mornings and so on.

Sebastian's photo

Sitting for 8 hours a day at a computer is simply bad for our bodies and health.

akshay vinchurkar's photo

i work 9 hours a day 54 min for lunch time i am living in a country where they compare developers with coal miners for owners you are same your not get paid for your work your get paid because you sit their in office for 8 hours i really like the github approach when it comes to working hours.

slim's photo

It depends on you. If you love your job and the work you are doing, 8 hours will not be enough.But if you are obliged to work then 8h will be a lot for you.

Bhojendra Rauniyar's photo

If you're learning to code, then 8 hours of work is still less. You might need to spend more hours.

If you're professional, then you accept 8 hours of work is not actually full of hard work. You'll enjoy few hours of social media, breaks, chats, etc. You might probably work for 4 hours of day even though you're engaged for 8 hours duty.

Don't think it's too much or less. Just focus on how you can be productive.

Haris Secic's photo

Most of employers ask you to stay at least 8h a day. So at some point you stare at a blank screen asking yourself should I quit all of this and go live in a village and grow my own food. On the other hand he will require you to stay longer or even much longer (couple of hours + weekends) to get things done that are usually late not because of your fault(developers) but because managers could not agree on some specifications or so on. When you (developers) are to blame you get instantly fired. So I've seen too few of my employers telling me yea go home take a longer lunch break there's nothing for you to do today. Those employers where ones I actually stayed in contact with as a friend and worked weekends because I wanted to help the project not because someone asked me. Others were just frustration in my life and now if I work for those 9 to 5 minimum people I go home at 5 and stay for nothing. If they want overtime I tell them "day off or bonuses". Some would be afraid to get fired but is any job worth your health? Do you live for company or are you a person that has desires aside from earning some money? Do you love yourself or do you love money?

Todd's photo

Frankly I wished I worked longer (production hours less distracted). Distractions at work suck.

Sonia GarMar's photo

It depends on how much do you like your job, and this includes two things: what do you do and the environment.

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