When an employee says they worked 60 hours, they’re lying

by Stephanie Zillman19 Oct 2012

Don't believe people who say they work 60 hours a week – they’re inflating the figure by 5-10%.

Or at the least that’s the finding from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and a Belgian national survey, both of which used weekly diaries to reach the hypothesis.

When workers were asked to estimate their number of work hours, employed respondents tended to significantly overestimate their work hours in relation to the work hours they reported in their diaries.

Curiously, people who were already clocking a high number of hours per week were in fact more likely to inflate their work week than those who worked fewer hours.

According to the study led by John P. Robinson of the University of Maryland, people who say they usually work 55-64 hours per week are off by an average of 10 hours. People who say they work 65-74 hours are overstating by about 20 hours.

But is it a bonus they’re after? The more likely reason for inflating weekly hours is in wanting to appear industrious, the researchers suggested.


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