I’m sure most of you have heard of the term “slave driving“. It’s a term widely used in our world today, especially in the IT industry where competition is stiff. All the companies want to deliver a project in the shortest time possible to please the clients. However, the only way they can do this is to “force” their employees to work more and longer period of time….which means “slave driving“.

In some big corporations, “slave driving” is a norm. It is something they used to measure an employee’s commitment. I used to work in a company where going back on time is not encouraged. Everyone will be looking at you whenever you choose to go back at 5.30 or 6pm…..including your bosses who might be taking some “personal notes” as you walked pass. Well, as expected, I didn’t do well in the company because I was considered not committed enough even though I used to work > 14 hours a day for them.

The question now is : Do you think one is not committed enough if one always go back on time (even if his work is completed)?

I personally don’t think so. If a person always go back on time, even though the work for the day has not been completed…then that person is not committed enough. However, it depends on the workload as well. If the manager is too demanding, it’s a totally different story.

Also, based on some researches, an employee cannot perform well if work for > 12 hours a day. The person will suffer “brain freeze” or “mental block“. So, what’s the use of forcing people to work > 12 hours when their brains are not working?

When an employee is not working happily…such as not in a fun working environment (remember the “Fish!” philosophy?), no family and work balance, not rewarded appropriately or no job satisfaction… the employee will leave the company sooner or later. This is why most of the “slave driving” companies have very high turnover rate since not everyone can be as “committed” as the management team wants them to be.

What will happen if the company has very high turnover rate? Well, I am sure that’s a question most people can answer. Reputation, headcount problem, etc will come into question.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean to say that an employee should stick to 9-5 type of work. It is necessary to show your initiatives and your commitments to your company but at the same time, have a balance work + family life. Sometimes the company needs you to work for longer period of time due to project timeline. That will be the time for you to show your commitment. Your company don’t pay you for nothing. 🙂

Conclusion, respect for the individual is the key phrase. Every company should respect its own employees, including giving them their personal time and freedom. If the company respects its employees, I am sure the employees will be willing to take up some of their personal time to do something for the company. The work of someone who is willing, is always better than the work of someone who has been forced.