9 Gender-Neutral Ways to Say “Man-Hours”

Are you concerned about using “man-hours” in your writing?

Perhaps you worry that it’s not politically correct or is too exclusive to use in most contexts.

Fear not! Because that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with.

This article will teach you gender-neutral alternatives to “man-hours” to help you explore more accepting and inclusive options.

Is “Man-Hours” Politically Correct?

It is not politically correct to use “man-hours.” It’s an unnecessarily gendered term that no longer belongs in the most formal settings.

It is not inclusive.

Generally, it refers to men working as, traditionally, that was how workplaces used to be structured.

Now, everyone works, not just men. So, it’s time to explore some alternatives.


  • It’s traditional, so people recognize it.
  • It’s a simple way to show people have been working.


  • It’s non-inclusive.
  • It’s gendered for outdated and irrelevant reasons.

Therefore, you should stop using “man-hours” in your writing. Instead, it’s more appropriate to explore options that will make your readers feel more accepted.

Keep reading to learn gender-neutral ways to say “man-hours.” We’ve gathered a list of some fantastic synonyms to show you what works well in your writing.

What to Say Instead of “Man-Hours”

  • Work hours
  • Labor hours
  • Person-hours
  • Work time
  • Human effort
  • Team hours
  • Collective effort
  • Team effort
  • Collaborative time

1. Work Hours

Let’s start with “work hours” as another way to say “man-hours.” After all, “man-hours” really only refers to any number of hours worked in a job.

Therefore, there’s no need to use “man” at all. Simply using “work” will do the trick, suggesting that a specific number of hours have been worked by an individual.

For the most part, you can use this as a formal and gender-neutral synonym.

We recommend it when writing an email to your team. After all, it’s an inclusive way to show you’re treating everyone with respect and valuing their work equally.

The biggest problem with using “man-hours” in an email is that people who aren’t men can feel left out or ignored.

Therefore, “work hours” shows that it doesn’t matter what gender someone has. Everyone “works” for you, so it’s good to use when including that fact.

Also, you can review this email sample to learn a bit more:

Dear Team,

We’re going to need to put in far more work hours to get this project finalized.

Please let me know who’s ready and willing to step up to help us here.

Carla Jeffries

2. Labor Hours

Another way to say “man-hours” is “labor hours.” Again, this is a gender-neutral synonym that works well when being more professional.

This time, you can use “labor” to refer to the hours completed by employees.

It suggests you’re happy with the work they’ve put in. More often than not, this works well when talking to your team about a project you might be working on.

If you’re proud that everyone stepped up and put more work than usual into something, you should use a phrase like this.

After all, it can be quite genuine and positive when used in the right context. Of course, the phrase itself is fairly bland, but it’s still good to consider it.

You should review this example if you still need help understanding more about it:

Dear Paul,

I’m happy with the labor hours we all put into this project.

Without our hard work, we certainly wouldn’t have been able to make it to this point.

Carl Pixie

3. Person-Hours

For a politically correct way to say “man-hours,” try “person-hours.”

This one works best if you’re looking for a more direct way to replace the phrase.

After all, it’s quite common for more outdated words that include “man” in them to be replaced with “person.”

Using “person” shows you’re referring to any individual, regardless of the gender they identify with.

Therefore, it is much more inclusive and accepting when used in a work capacity.

For the most part, we recommend using this when expressing how many hours you’ll need people to put into completing certain projects.

For instance, you can use it when contacting clients. It’s an opportunity for you to reach out to them and let them know what you expect.

Here’s a helpful sample email to show you a bit more:

Dear Miss Rogers,

We’re going to need at least three people from your team to commit person-hours to this.

Please let me know which three people you’d like to work with us.

George Jefferson

4. Work Time

Next, you can mix things up completely with “work time.” This is a unique synonym from the previous ones as it doesn’t include the word “hours” at all.

Instead, it refers to the time taken by people at work. So, “work time” suggests that everyone has a specific, allocated set of hours to work.

Generally, “work time” is a good choice in professional contexts.

You can use it when contacting an employer to let them know how many hours you’re willing to spend doing a project on their behalf.

It may also be useful to review this sample email to learn a bit more:

Dear Miss Taylor,

I have a lot of work time to contribute to this if you need me.

I’m not currently partaking in any projects, so I’d appreciate anything new you could give me.

Best wishes,
Rosie Webster

5. Human Effort

It’s also smart to try “human effort” as a more inclusive word for “man-hours.” After all, “human” isn’t a limiting word.

“Human” defines everybody. It doesn’t define race, gender, sexuality, or any other separating groups.

Instead, it simply shows that human beings work in a company, and it’s them that have to put hours into completing something.

Therefore, you can use this to sound more professional when asking people for help.

This tends to work quite well when reaching out to your team. Including “human effort” is an encouraging way to show people they’re going to need to put some time and energy into a new and important task.

Also, you can review this example to learn a bit more about it:

Dear All,

We are going to need a substantial human effort from you at this moment.

This is perhaps one of the biggest projects we’ve ever been tasked to work on.

All the best,
Roger Clarkson

6. Team Hours

You can also write “team hours” to show that there’s a collaborative effort in the workplace.

Using “team” rather than “man” shows you’re grouping the workplace together. It suggests that everyone works as one unit rather than each person working for themselves.

Therefore, it’s a useful one to sound more inclusive and sincere when referring to everyone’s efforts in the workplace.

Check out the following email sample to learn a bit more:

Dear All,

I need you to commit some more team hours to this event.

It’s one of our biggest ones yet, so please take it seriously.

Thank you so much,
Jean Billing

7. Collective Effort

Also, give “collective effort” a go. Again, rather than referring to one “man,” it refers to a team of individuals working towards a common goal.

Therefore, it’s a great way to refer to everyone’s time in the workplace.

It’s respectful and professional, which goes a long way in most emails.

Also, it suggests that everyone has to come together to work hard. Therefore, it’s good when bulk emailing students who might be taking part in an assignment together.

Check out the following email sample to learn a bit more:

Dear Students,

I’m going to need a solid collective effort from you all today.

Please let me know if anyone isn’t going to be able to make it.

Kyle Beddingfield

8. Team Effort

For something a little simpler, try “team effort.” It’s good to be part of a team, so this synonym works wonders when replacing “man-hours” in most situations.

After all, it’s collaborative and clear. It shows the reader exactly what you mean when talking about the work people put into an office or business.

Generally, this can work well when writing to your employer.

Perhaps they’ve set you up with a project with an insurmountable amount of work. A phrase like this is a good way to remind them that they need to be more realistic and give you help.

Check out the following email example if you still need assistance:

Dear Ms. Wiley,

I’m happy to work on this for you, but it will need to be a team effort.

I think I’ll have to ask two of my coworkers to join me to get this done.

All the best,
Thomas Hardy

9. Collaborative Time

Finally, you can use “collaborative time” to show multiple people are putting the time into completing something.

This is more inclusive than “man-hours.” It’s also a gender-neutral synonym, making it an excellent choice to clearly avoid offending anyone.

For the most part, this goes a long way when writing to a client. It lets them know that you and a group of others will be working on something to make their lives easier.

Check out this example to learn a bit more:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

Of course, this is going to require our collaborative time.

However, at this firm, we’re all happy to pitch in to look after your needs!

Best wishes,
Samuel Timothy