A “man-day” is something we can use to talk about the amount of work someone can do within a certain period. However, the usage of the word “man” in this phrase can be insensitive. That’s why this article will present some gender-neutral alternatives that might be a little better!
Which Gender-Neutral Alternatives Can I Use Instead Of “Man-Hours” And “Man-Days”?
There are plenty of ways we can use gender-neutral alternatives. You might benefit from learning one of the following:
- Days of effort
The preferred version is “person-hours” or “person-days.” We can use “person” to replace “man” in almost any instance where gender-neutrality is important. It works well to cover all genders that might be working at a company, which is the best practice.
“Person-hours” is a great way to use “people” as a gender-neutral group noun. It works because it does not rely on genders. It simply states that multiple people from all walks of life work for us and get the job done in “hours.”
Here are a few examples:
- They want us to work together for thirty person-hours, and I think I can cope with that.
- You should not have told them we could offer fifty person-hours. That’s a long time!
- I’ll give you all of my person-hours for next week to get this one completed in time!
“Person-days” is another good way to refer to “people” as a group. We do not specify gender when using “person” in this way, which is why it works well and allows us to be as politically correct as possible.
Check out some of these examples for more:
- I think they wanted to give us three more person-days to get this done. But if it’s not done by then, we’re in trouble.
- I can give you sixteen person-days because I have a large enough workforce for it.
- You want to find three people to give you thirty person-days? Good luck with that!
“Worker-hours” is a good way to be inclusive. Instead of using “person,” we can be more specific about the “work” that the group of people takes part in. This helps to make it more obvious that they are getting paid for the tasks, which is useful.
Here are a few ways you can make it work:
- I think they said they would give us thirty-two worker-hours split between a team of four.
- We can split the worker-hours however we need to, but we at least have to give them twenty.
- You should be in charge of the team offering sixteen worker-hours for this one.
“Worker-days” works well because it is gender-neutral. As above, we can use it to simply refer to the people within our workforce. “Workers” does not refer to men or women. It’s just a way of using “people” to be more specific in a working field.
These examples will help you understand it:
- They should have five more worker-days to give us.
- I think I could do with those six worker-days back, sir. It’s been draining!
- I don’t want to allow them to give me any more worker-days. I’ve already overworked the poor people!
“Labor-hours” is a great way to be non-specific and gender-neutral. Referring to “labor” instead of specific groups of people is a great way to show that we are completing some hours at work rather than worrying about who might be offering the hours to us.
Check out some of these examples:
- I have thirteen more labor-hours in the project before I’m allowed to resign.
- You can give me at least six more labor-hours for a little more compensation, right?
- I want you to get a team together of thirty employees, each one offering at least ten labor-hours.
“Labor-days” is another great way to use “labor” to refer to a workforce. It does not mention genders in any way. Instead, it refers to the “labor” of the people working for a company, which is easy and politically correct.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- I think six labor-days are left in the team before this is done.
- I want to give him more than thirty labor-days, but I can’t find the people in my team willing to make that sacrifice!
- We want three of your workers to offer thirty labor-days. They’ll be compensated generously.
“Staff-hours” works well to refer to the workers as a whole. The word “staff” is a plural word referring to everyone who works for a company. There is no reason to specify genders when using “staff,” which is why it works so well in many cases.
Here are a few ways we can get it to make sense:
- They want to offer us three staff-hours a week to get this project finished. Is that enough?
- I can give you all my staff-hours for the next two weeks, but I can’t imagine we’ll have it finished together until at least June.
- I think sixteen staff-hours will be more than enough, and I appreciate your help on this.
“Staff-days” works in the same way. We can refer to the gender-neutral plural noun “staff” to not single anyone out. This helps us to be inclusive and not insult anyone if they do not identify as “men” in the original “man-days” phrase.
These examples should help you out more with it:
- I’ve got you listed as offering fifteen staff-days. That’s an awful lot to give to them, Sue!
- I can give you one extra staff-day to finish this, but I won’t be able to budge further than that.
- I have gathered enough people to give us the twenty staff-days we need for it.
“Work-hours” is another great alternative we can use. This time, we use “work” to remain gender-neutral. It does not specify the people we want to see complete the hours. Instead, it just says that these “hours” will be completed at “work.”
Here are a few ways we can use it:
- We are going to need a combined total of one hundred work-hours from all of you. Do you think you can manage?
- I think after sixty work-hours we should have all the materials we need to complete this one.
- We should offer them slightly less than thirty work-hours for the things they’ve been saying about this company!
“Work-days” is the same as above, but over a larger period (“days”). We can use it when we want to show that people are at “work,” but we do not care to mention any specific genders. It’s a good way to be as inclusive as possible.
These examples will help you to make more sense of it:
- I’m going to need you to commit at least three work-days into this data pooling system, mate.
- You should have taken the offer for sixteen work-days across four people. That was a good deal.
- I can give him six work-days of my time, but if it’s not completed by then, I’m out.
Days Of Effort
“Days of effort” is the only alternative of this list so far without hyphenation. We use it to simply talk about how many days might be required for a task. The number of days can be split between any number of people depending on the gravity of the job.
Here are some ways we can make it work:
- I’m going to need you to commit at least eight days of effort into this one before it’s done.
- I think they can give us about fifty days of effort split between five people if that works for you, sir?
- We want to offer ten days of effort, split amongst our workforce however you see fit.
Finally, we wanted to cover how “hours” on its own is a useful tool. Sometimes, you just need to specify the exact number of hours required for a task, and there is no reason to ever specify it more with words like “man” or “worker” or “person.”
This is a great choice if you want to avoid any uncomfortable situations about gender terms. It works because we just list a specific number of “hours” and treat them as such.
Here are some helpful examples that might work for you:
- We are going to need all hands in this project to work at least 300 hours combined.
- We’ll need 3,000 hours pooled together from all of the workers before finishing this one.
- They estimate that the process will take about 100 hours of their time.
“Days” works in the same way as “hours.” If we do not want to specify the type of person we are talking about, there is nothing wrong with “days.” It still designates an exact number of days based on how many people are working on a thing.
Here are some ways we can make it work:
- They’re going to need fifteen days combined between them before they can finish this one.
- The contract says you can have them for a total of eighty days and no more.
- We can give you fourteen days across three workers if that works out for you?
You may also like: 10 Gender-Neutral Alternatives to “Sir” or “Madam”
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.