Unemployed, uninsured people may have a fair amount of time (between all of the under-the-table jobs they take to support themselves), but employed people with commercial health coverage often have no such thing.
Early in the recession, American employers in areas moderately affected by the slump let go of the toxic workers who were actually reducing the other employees’ productivity.
About a year or so ago, employers seemed to get more serious about laying off workers who were nice enough but not all that productive.
The employees who are left are frantically busy.
Several dual-income-family parents admitted to me recently that they are regularly putting young children to bed around 10 p.m. because, otherwise, they would never see the children.
The surviving workers are doing the work that two or three workers used to do, and, in many cases, they are classified as professionals who are exempt from overtime laws. Or, they may be eligible for overtime but never dream of trying to ask for overtime because they have been told to do their work during normal business hours, even though there is no real possibility for them to do so.
Workers take on tasks such as sifting through, reading and answering e-mail without anyone giving serious thought to how much time those tasks take.
Workers who formerly were not actively involved in marketing or tech support may also end up working as social media promoters and e-mail system managers in their “spare time,” because there seems to be an assumption that those tasks can be done instantaneously.
All of that time spent on instantaneous tasks is adding up.