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Workplace Lessons from Adam Ruins Everything

POSTED ON 
October 22, 2018


"A recent survey found employees only spend 45% of their day on primary job duties." 

A friend of mine recommended I check out a show called, “Adam Ruins Everything,” and specifically, the episode about work. Who wants to watch a show about work in their free time? Without question, me! 

I was happy to find it was a study of all the ridiculous things we do in the name of work and how those antiquated rituals are killing productivity, profits, and our spirits. And no, sometimes ping-pong tables and in-house laundry services don’t make up for all the crazy people deal with during the time in the office. I encourage everyone to check out the episode, available on Netflix. 

Here are a few of the concepts Adam explores: 

Old habits die hard. 

The five-day, 40-hour work week is out-of-date, and many expected it to be gone by now. In fact, a recent survey found that employees only spend 45% of the workday on primary work duties. 

Selfish motives move mountains. 

In 1926 Henry Ford gave his employees two days off but not out of the goodness of his heart. Why? He saw that overworked employees were less productive and that they spend less money. We have Saturday and Sundays off from work because Ford wanted an extra day for people to be able to go out and buy his cars when they weren't at work or at church. 

Working late sucks. 

Overtime increases the rate of mistakes and safety mishaps among industrial workers by 61%. Longer hours also lower the scores on cognitive performance tests. As Adam said–when you work your employees around the clock “you are literally working your employees stupid.” 

Cheaters never prosper. 

In 1995 only 7% of U.S. workers were freelancers, but in 2014 that number was up to 33%. According to Adam, it’s because they’re up to 30% cheaper. However, many companies break U.S. labor law by treating those cheaper freelancers like employees. Yikes! 

Speak up for the wage gap. 

He also makes the case that discussing your salary isn’t just your right under U.S. labor law, but it’s to your advantage. Companies know the market rate for your role and what everyone around you is making, but historically it’s been in their interest to pay you the lowest number you’ll accept. Knowing the market rate for your role and what your peers are making tips the scale back in your favor, giving you the power to negotiate like a boss. 

The moral of Adam’s story: Companies profit when they care for their people in real ways like time off, paid benefits, and decent salaries. Now what to do with that cupcake budget–-hmmm?

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Sara Forner Howland
VICE PRESIDENT

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