Time is money study claims workers no longer can enjoy free time
Are we happier knowing that time is money? According to a recent Stanford University/University of Toronto co-study, this knowledge has worked against the modern worker, because time off of work tends to be viewed in terms of money lost. So while performance bonuses may be a positive motivator – we can all use more money – the “economic view” of time such spiffs engender may not have helped us one bit.
Time is money, and we hate that
The next time an employer things dangling performance bonus goals in front of workers in order to motivate them to do more with every moment of the day, they should consider the emotional impact of waving that carrot, suggests a study by Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford and Sanford DeVoe of the University of Toronto. By creating what the co-study calls an economic view of time, each minute comes to be viewed as scare and monetarily charged. Those who are forced to think in terms of time as money are less able to enjoy the time that they have, as moments of rest are moments when money-making opportunities are lost.
Wasting time and wasting money tend to become synonymous, and the worker begins to view each moment in terms of how much work should be done and how much time should be spent in volunteer activities, to the point that even important recuperative time becomes fraught with worry that more should be accomplished. Rather than being a recipe for a more productive society, some experts believe that this creates and unhealthy psychological complex in which the worker is made to believe that he is always on his master’s time.
Time is money – Reinforcing the ‘hedonic treadmill’
Whether or not modern corporate management have done it consciously, the study argues that a “hedonic treadmill” has been created, where the working class wants to trade its time for money because the presence of the carrot has supposedly made them unable to enjoy leisure activities the way they used to. Such societies enforce a paradigm where
“…the social status of leisure versus work has changed over time, so that working is now a status symbol, signaling people’s importance to their organizations—a change that itself may derive in part from how we view time… Basically, when we think of time as a resource and connect that to money, we’re more likely to constantly feel stress, even when we’re not on a deadline or under pressure.”
Time is money, stress is historic
All of this means that even though we aren’t working more than before, stress has still risen to historic levels because of the way the working class has been encouraged to view time. Organizationally speaking, the study authors urge companies to pay more attention to how deadlines and performance carrots impact the well-being of workers’ psyches. The language that is used to assess employees, as well as how job performance is measured, should be re-assessed in order to help avoid a more permanent enforcement of stress. “Time is money” can lead workers to an early grave.
Wasting time means wasting money