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The article is self-contradictory.

It argues at length that working more than 40 hours a week reduces your output, then states: "And it hurts the country, too. For every four Americans working a 50-hour week, every week, there’s one American who should have a full-time job, but doesn’t. Our rampant unemployment problem would vanish overnight if we simply worked the way we’re supposed to by law."

The math they're using there 50 hours x 4 employees = 40 hours x 5 employees is either wrong, or the rest of the article is.

I think the point there is actually about money, not productivity. If you're paying by the hour, they're both the same to the employer, but you'll get more from the 5 40hr employees.

There's a bunch of simplifying that's going on there (overhead per person, etc.), but the basic message is that if companies can only afford so many people-hours, it's hurting the people they don't hire in addition to their own employees.

I think it was referring to the earlier-mentioned practice of companies firing someone and then splitting their work between two people.

agreed. and it seems to use some fuzzy math where working less hours makes proportional space for an extra employee to fill in those hours. in fact, the value of extra employees ranges from marginal to non existent depending on the size of team/company due to the overhead. Unless we're talking about a coffee shop where not much collaboration is needed to get projects done, just pure clocking in and out and performing isolated tasks.

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