The traditional 40-hour work week allowed employees to forget the pressures of work and spend time with family and friends. It was recognized as an essential release valve for stress that created happier employees, generated company loyalty, and allowed businesses to retain the best talent.
“Escape the corporate plantation,” said Kei George, coach, entrepreneur and founder of escapetheratrace.us.
Corporate America has become primarily focused on profits to the detriment of the workers that enable them to generate record-breaking profits. As employees demanded fairness for overtime hours and benefits, corporate America fought back by extending “normal” work hours, increasing workloads, and reducing pay scales.
Companies tacitly began encouraging a workplace culture in which employees felt they must prove their loyalty to the company by working longer, harder and eschewing vacations and free time to obtain a raise or be eligible for benefits. Those practices have created bitterness towards corporate America. For many employees, the only solution to escape a race they can’t win is to launch their own business enterprise.
Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that people working under conditions considered “normal” in the U.S. by today’s standards experienced more physical injuries, had lower cognitive function, and were less productive than those who had time to spend with friends and family.
The U.S. ranks in the top 20 of countries where employees work the longest hours according to a study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. The shortest work week is in the Netherlands and Germany. Workers there are more productive than those in nations like the U.S.
The bottom line for employers is that time off in the form of vacations, shorter work weeks, and fewer hours per day have significant health benefits, reduce the cost of healthcare, and provide an essential work-life balance for employees. Corporate America knows this but doesn’t act and it’s one of the driving factors motivating people to launch their own business.