There's a very interesting article on the IGDA.org site about why over working your employees doesn't work. This all comes up from the ea_spouse post a few months back about people working 87 hours a week for extended periods on a particular team at EA.
Unfortunately it doesn't actually seem to ring true to me. Of course I would like to work no more than 8 hours a day and right now I am but in the past I've worked far more than that and my gut tells me that basically it's what's required. While all the studies described seem to make sense they don't match my experience which is basically that during the day 10 to 6 there are so many distractions that it's nearly impossible to get work done. And I'm not talking about distractions like people talking around me, I'm talking about meetings and other things I need to be a part of to get my job done, to be informed of what's going on with the team, etc.
So, those distractions happen from 10 to 6 then dinner around 7 then coming back from dinner the real work happens after 8:30 when most of the rest of the people have left. Maybe it's all in my head and days like that are the exception not the rule. Maybe my time is mis−managed. Maybe I have too many responsibilities as in the responsibility to stay abreast of all that is going on and the responsibity to program something are too much for one person and should be split. Maybe management sucks and if they were more organized, keeping my abreast of the project would take less time leaving more for the coding.
I don't really know what the answer is but I do know quite a few people living that life by choice that see no way around it. To get all the stuff done they need to get done requires them to work 10am to 11pm during the entire project. Are they really deluding themsevles? Would they some how get more done if they only worked 10am to 6pm. That's extremely hard to believe. Maybe they are just exceptional people. Certainly, one rule about 8hrs a day can't fit everyone. Some people can probably only be productive 6 hours a day, other can go for 12. There's got to be a bell curve for that.
If they are not exceptional people, are they just over worked? Should they split their job? The article above would have you believe that they are actually getting less done at 11−13 hours a day then they would at 8 hours day. That sure, one 13 hour day now and then would help productivity but these guys have been doing this for YEARS and according to the article above their productively and efficiency should actually have dropped to the point they they are getting less done than if they worked 8 hours a day. I know they don't believe this. I find it hard to myself but that article......well.......?