Shocking headline I know.

But actually really refreshing to see someone in a high-level position in a notoriously long working-hour industry (having been at Google and now at Facebook) working a 9-to-5(:30) every day – and getting a much better work/life balance for it.

From an interview with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, on Makers.com:

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

So even those at the very top of their game can fit their presumably demanding job into an ordinary work day, real life proof that every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul. (See this Salon.com article for more research around the optimal working week).

Some great questions posed by Sheryl in the interview and ensuing debate too:

  • In a competitive industry where your work is never truly complete, has it become socially awkward to leave work at a time that used to be the standard?
  • Are those working eight-hour days that end at 5 p.m. being quietly judged by their co-workers?
  • Whatever happened to “work-life balance”?
  • Worse still: Are those who work these “standard” hours being overlooked for promotions?

CNN picked up on the debate, stating: “Not only do modern workers not get enough of it, but boasting about how little sleep you had last night has become a badge of honor. Those getting plenty of sleep must not be working hard enough, some assume.”

And on that note, I’m off to bed…

(Full interview with Sheryl Sandberg is available to watch here)