Work harder, not smarter

This Thursday, I read in the newspaper that a German candy manufacturer is letting its employees work 60 hours a week (6 days of 10 hours!) for 3 months, because otherwise the company would have to close.

It looks like they’re applying a fix while leaving the underlying causes untouched. The company will probably have to close anyway, but just a few months later, when losses and debts are even higher and people have sacrificed time they’d rather spent with their family, children, friends. The later you face the crisis, the harder it’ll hit you.

This is an extreme example of something that seems like a trend among organisations across Europe. The problem is that working more hours just delays the crisis and shifts the burden to the employees and their families. It means only increasing the value of a variable in the system, instead of necessary structural changes, e.g. by identifying and removing muda (waste) or applying other lean techniques.