Long hours for Farmers

May 21, 2015 Comments (1) Views: 3659 Time Out

What happens if you don’t take breaks?

Working longer and harder isn’t the answer to increasing farmer productivity.


Working long hours – 50 hours or more a week – is a default response for many Kiwis when they’re under pressure.  OECD research shows that 1 in 5 NZ men work 50 hours or more, compared to 1 in 10 in other countries.


The more you work, the less productive you get

Working long hours is actually counter-productive. Workplace productivity research shows:


  • Output and productivity per hour actually declines once you reach 50 hours work a week.
  • At least one day’s rest every week improves a person’s productivity.
  • People who work 70 hours or more a week, or more than 14 hours in one shift, are at high risk of fatigue and burn out, which lowers your productivity.


A tired brain is an ineffective brain

Another batch of research shows that long hours can mess with your head. When people are tired:

  • their brain doesn’t function as well
  • they have trouble thinking through issues
  • they find it harder to make decisions
  • their coordination is impaired and they are at a higher risk of an accident

Being productive is about working smarter, not longer. It’s about managing workload and scheduling downtime for other activities. Recharge time gives farmers the energy to think clearly and perform at their best.

One Response to What happens if you don’t take breaks?

  1. Sue says:

    We are not dairy farmers and have not suffered as much loss as some but the effects of the floods are impacting on us. Especially as it followed a particularly wet autumn giving less grass growth and we could not get to fertilise because of the weather! It is hard to combat stress when you are stressed over a multitude of areas and know and acknowledge that there are a lot of people in a worse situation than you. It is helpful to help others, it takes your mind off your own troubles and gets you away from the farm and meet other people.

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