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We haven’t always been obsessed with time. It was only upon the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that clocks became relevant, as factories needed to coordinate hundreds of people and employ them to work in synchronicity.
As business leaders imposed clock time on the workforce, so too were ideas such as “time is money” enforced. Today, we’re all obsessed with time – time is most common noun in the English language, followed by person, day, way and year. We complain there’s not enough time, that we need to manage it better, and that we don’t know where it goes. It’s ironic that while it’s practically a badge of honor to exclaim that our lives are “too busy,” we also strive to achieve the principles of a four-hour workweek.
How much do you know about the concept of time? Here are 10 interesting facts revolving around how we spend our working days.
1. What you think of as a day – how long it takes the Earth to rotate – isn’t 24 hours. It’s 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.2 seconds.
2. Countries have experimented with changing how we measure time – for example, the Soviet Union tried to enforce five and six-day weeks between 1929 and 1931 (which not surprisingly failed and led to the seven-day week being reinstated in 1940), while France attempted to introduce a 10-hour clock after the French Revolution.
3. Out of all the OECD countries, Mexico works the longest hours, followed by South Korea and Greece.
4. On the flip side, a number of companies in Sweden are offering six-hour workdays, with the aim of encouraging people to get more done in a shorter amount of time.
5. According to recent survey of 1,005 U.S.-based full-time workers, the three most common ways people spend time at work not working are taking breaks, going to the bathroom, and gossiping with co-workers.
6. comScore’s 2015 U.S. mobile app report reported that the average user spends a little less than 3.5 hours a month on mobile apps, and roughly 80 percent of that time is focused on the user’s top three apps.
7. Worldwide, the median number of paid vacation time available to workers is under 25 days a year. Collectively, workers leave about 20 percent of this time off unused.
8. Replicon found that in the 12 months leading to June 2015, December was the busiest month for vacation time across its worldwide customer base, followed by November and May. In contrast, June had the lowest percentage of vacation time, followed by April and October.
9. Everyone says “time flies when you’re having fun,” but a study showed that people felt like time passed more slowly when listening to music they enjoyed more – most likely because people pay more attention to things they enjoy, which causes a slowdown in time perception.
10. Like all good things, will time come to an end? The theory of relativity suggests that the universe will expand infinitely, however some theoretical physicists predict that time will end within the next four billion years.
At Replicon, we see time is one of the important and underutilized assets for everybody and every business. By harnessing time effectively – through effective approaches in capturing, managing, and optimizing how we work, companies can drive significant value back to the business. Whether the value is recognized through improved efficiencies, increased profit margins, or simply a more balanced and stress-free day, a central focus on time is key.