How many hours a week should academics work?

David Matthews:

Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive.

The research on how long academics work is patchy, but on the whole it shows that scholars are putting in longer hours than the average worker, and certainly more than the 9-to-5 norm that in any case seems to be disappearing from Western workplaces. A 1999 study by the US Department of Education found that full-time faculty clocked up 55 hours a week. A survey 15 years later at Boise State University in Idaho found an even more gruelling schedule: faculty worked an average 61-hour workweek, including 10 hours at the weekend.