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Poland has been seeing great growth after years of EU funding and incentives, leading to the creation of a “silicon valley” in the Domaniewska district of Warsaw, a tract of more than 100 modern office buildings, occupying over one million square metres, and housing up to 100,000 workers.

image mordor or silicon valley warsaw

Slave of Mordor, or dream job?

TNS Poland have commissioned a survey, revealing details on worker age, hours, productivity and common complaints. It’s estimated 87% of the 80,000-100,000 workers are under 30 years old.

The area is colloquially known as “Mordor”, named after the Lord of The Rings wasteland around Sauron’s tower and Mount Doom, mainly due to it’s congestion and traffic jams, but also because of a perceived state of mind. A community in it’s own right, it has it’s own Facebook page with 77k Likes, blog, and hilariously, it even seems to have it’s own booze.

Job content

Part of the “love” equation comes from job content. A huge 70% get to deal with “cool and creative” projects, and just over half consider it a dream job.

  • I work on cool or creative projects 70%
  • This is my dream job 51%
  • Sometimes I feel burned out 42%
  • I feel stressed before I even start work 15%
The happiest group regarding job content are the over 30’s, 66% in fact.
40% admit to feeling burnout, and 15% are stressed outside work. Traffic jams, other passengers and commuting making up most of the jokes circulating among the workers.

Overtime hours worked

The overtime hours worked in Mordor are well above Western European averages. Interestingly, the workers who consider the job a “dream come true” are also from the over-30 group, and also the most likely to work more than eight hours a day.
54% work within 8 hours a day, with 40% regularly working longer. The average overall in “Mordor” is 9 hours.

  • I have worked up to 10 hours in a day 29%
  • I have worked 11-13 hours in a day 35%
  • I have worked 14-16 hours in a day 28%
  • I have worked 16 hours or more in a day 10%
Many workers admit that overtime is competitive, with bragging rights for who can work the most.
Western studies (The Economist) conclude that overtime does not help efficiency, and can have the opposite effect, increasing lack of commitment and motivation. Working longer leads to unbalanced work and private life, reduced efficiency and burnout.
Workers at eight hours are more organised and productive.
Some pshychologists speculate that extended working hours can act as solidatiry with colleagues, and an unfortunate form of substitute for a social life.

Productivity

National studies indicate that only 29% of Polish are considered to be working efficiently, with the average eight-hour worker wasting two hours on non-work related things, excluding lunch breaks.
And in Mordor? Efficiency is much higher, with 56% being over 80% efficient.

  • I believe Mordor workers are less than 70% productive 19%
  • I believe Mordor workers are 71-80% productive 26%
  • I believe Mordor workers are 81-90% productive 38%
  • I believe Mordor workers are 91-100% productive 18%
85% of employees believe their focus is good, even under harsh conditions. It’s hard to know with something this subjective.

Common complaints

These are the things workers perceive.

  • I feel I am working at maximum capacity 80%
  • I am unhappy about after hours work 40%
  • My work-life balance is affected by work 31%
  • My work-life balance is affected by work. (9hr+ overtime workers) 50%
The survey producers have some recommendations to help with the situation.
  • Getting rid of the worst tasks.
  • Doing the most important tasks at the time of day when you are most productive.
  • Take short breaks between bouts of intensive work, like a walk or a drink.
  • When struggling to concentrate, stretching, music, games or puzzles, or energy drinks, ideally those with natural stimulants such as caffeine or ginseng.

Common complaints are email wars (Poland you are not alone), and scheduled meetings that add no value. Specifically:

  • Corporate procedures and bureaucracy 39%
  • Being given too much responsibility or accountability 36%
  • Tight deadlines 29%
  • Working at hotdesks 27%
  • Too many meetings 26%
  • Stress 26%
  • Too many phone calls or emails 26%
  • Distracting colleagues 22%
  • Laziness after holidays 19%
The survey further advises:
  • Avoid distractions
  • Take a break period from email, calls, temporarily turn them off
  • Use headphones (where allowed)
  • Try and work on single tasks as opposed to many at once

Jason Fried, author and TED talker, in “Why work doesn’t happen at work“, likens work to sleep. To have a good night’s sleep we must go through all the levels, from shallow down to deep. With constant distractions, we have to keep starting over.

 
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