Work, Work, Work

Doesn’t everyone seem to be trying to figure out how to work less? Whether it’s a quality-of-life issue, trying to scam the system of just seeing how much you can get away with, working less and making more seems to be the game of the day.

However, some pockets in the world are precisely the opposite. Have you ever heard of the 996 working-hour system in China? The 996 working hour system is a work schedule practiced by some companies in China where the work requirement is that employees work from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., six days a week. Put away your calculator; I’ve done the math. Yes, that works out to a standard 72-hour work week.


Many Mainland Chinese internet companies have adopted this system. Some critics of the practice say that the 996 system is a “violation of Chinese Labour Law.” Maybe it’s questioned in China, but my reaction is, “Are you nuts?” This has to be a violation of some law, possibly modern-day slavery. There is an entire culture of overtime work in Chinese IT companies. Oh, there are some benefits, of course. The employer will often reimburse taxi fees for those loyal employees who work late. Now that’s a perk.

Of course, what isn’t discussed is the mental and physical toll on employees. A recent report says, “ It is estimated that more than three-quarters of urban workers in big cities suffer from work-related fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep or eating disorders, occupational stress, and work-family imbalance.” According to China’s state-owned media, People’s Daily, a survey showed that 98.8% of Chinese IT industry workers said they had health problems. The report goes on to say that numerous overwork deaths and suicides have occurred during past decades due to the 996 system.

Luckily, we do not have companies in most of the world that have instituted a policy similar to the 996 working hour system. However, we have all worked in places that encourage working as much as they can get you to work. And, if you’re an entrepreneur, you know that sometimes we have to work those kinds of hours. However, we all, hopefully, understand the debilitating results in mental and physical exhaustion.

I have often suggested to a Business Coaching client that their best business growth strategy is to go home and nap. Or, even better, to master the Art of Priority Management. By not trying to do EVERYTHING that you think you need to do but Prioritizing what you need to do and ONLY doing the highest priority tasks, anyone can actually do more in less time. I have a client who went from 85-90 hours a week to 55 hours a week and got more high-priority tasks completed. This simple skill development doubled his income, reunited him with his family, and possibly saved his life.

If you’re working too much and not enjoying the fruits of business ownership, write or call me. I can help. – Master Coach Dan

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