Employees who feel pressured to work after hours aren't as productive as people who stick to their 9-to-5, a new survey found

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Employees who feel pressured to work after hours aren't as productive as people who stick to their 9-to-5, a new survey found
Workers who spend too much time in meetings say they don't have enough time to focus, Slack's Workforce Index found. Jay Yuno/Getty Images
  • Slack's Workforce Index 2023 found that being pressured to overwork is actually counterproductive.
  • Those who work after hours are more burnt out and less satisfied with their work environment.
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Logging a couple of extra hours after work might seem like a harmless strategy to tick off more of your to-do-list but it's actually making you less productive, a new Slack survey found.

Slack's Workforce Index published on Tuesday surveyed 10,333 full-time desk workers in the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. between August 24 and September 15, 2023.

It found that over a third of desk workers were logging on outside of their company's standard hours, with over half saying it's because they feel pressured and not because they actually want to. The most common reason cited by people who work after hours is "not having enough time in the day."

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However, those who feel obliged to work extra hours are actually 20% less productive than those who stop working at the end of their standard work day, often a 9-to-5, Slack's survey found.

In fact, they also reported 2.1 times more work-related stress, 1.7 times lower satisfaction with their work environment, and two times more burnout.

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They're also 50% more likely to say they have too many competing priorities. For many workers, a large chunk of their working day is eaten up by meetings.

One in four workers said they're spending too much time in meetings. These people are twice as likely to feel like they don't have enough time to focus, the survey found.

On average, desk workers say the ideal amount of focus time in a day is four hours. Any more than two hours spent in meetings is the tipping point where they feel like they're being overburdened.

Jonathan Malesic, the author of "The End of Burnout,'' previously told Business Insider that American work culture idealizes overworking because symptoms such as burnout are worn like a badge of honour.

"If you say you're exhausted from work, then you are saying you are a good worker, upholding the norms of the American work ethic," he said.

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But workers are lashing back against these ideals. The "quiet quitting" trend has emerged in the past year and has become a global phenomenon, encouraging workers to do the bare minimum at work and prioritize other things.

A 2023 Gallup report even found that 59% of workers in 160 countries were "quiet quitting," due to high levels of stress, per BI.

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