At the risk of receiving an onslaught of critical comments – I dare to say, as your boss, that you, my employee, are not giving me eight hours worth of work, even though that’s what I am paying you for.
Today especially, when social media is the rage – employees the world over are going to work in order to…yes, it’s true: waste time.
Work Five Hours, Get Paid For Eight
The truth is, and this applies to every manager and CEO as well, we can only work hard for maybe four or five hours in a day. Of course, there are days when we’re going flat out for seven or eight, or maybe even 10 or 12 hours straight – but the quality of our work will suffer greatly, and much of that so-called “work time” is spent on breaks.
What if your employer told you that from now, you would come to work for only six hours? You would have one hour off for lunch, but the other five would be work, work, and work.
In at 9 am, out at 3 pm. Work would be a time in which we all actually worked.
Get It Done Today
Faced with a shortened work day, employers could tell employees that within that time period, the objectives of the day need to be met.
If I tell myself that there is something I need to get done in the next two hours, I make sure it happens. But, if I tell myself that I need to accomplish the same task, and have seven hours to do it – there’s a good chance I will do it in only the last two hours of that seven-hour window. The rest of the time will be spent checking social media sites, going to the fridge, taking a walk, and conversing with friends.
In other words – increased productivity comes when the time allotted is shortened. And, without the distractions of time-wasting sideline activity, the job gets done with a greater level of detail and attention paid to quality.
Less Is More
This approach is based on “less is more” and would make an enormous difference in company profits. And it would also make for a much happier workforce. People will spend less time at work, creating more personal time – all the while being more productive.
The “less is more” system is closely related to the 80-20 rule which we experience every day in our work lives without knowing it.
20 per cent of what you do produces 80 per cent of your results. 80 per cent of what you do produces 20 per cent of results.
How Can We Change This Ratio?
One way is to conduct an audit of your day. What you will find is likely to shock you.
In the last few weeks, I have been frustrated by things taking far too long to accomplish. But when I reviewed how my time was spent, I concluded, “No wonder!” Meetings and phone calls take up a huge amount of time. People do not just talk about business. They talk about their lives in general, which can double or triple the time.
Not all, but a good number of these communications can just as easily be done via email or, if a conversation is needed, skype or some other web conferencing.
The point is that which we call “work” is not 100% work.
The Movement Is Growing
There are a growing number of books that talk about a reduced work week. “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss advocates getting out of the office entirely and working from home or on the road. Ferriss is a believer that if we cut out all of the time wasters, we only need four hours to make a good income.
Stephan Aarstol, CEO of Tower Paddle Boards is the author of “The 5 Hour Work Day,” which he promises will make all employees happier people. Aarstol, who appeared as a contestant on Shark Tank, practices what he preaches and has a staff that works just five hours a day because, as he puts it, “the point of life is not work.”
Work To Live
These books would seem to be preaching the opposite of what many of us are doing. Millions the world over are living to work. But it’s really supposed to be about working to live.
We need to see work in a different way – as a means to an end. A way to make our lives more adventuresome and fulfilled.
If you’re a manager or company owner, Stephan Aarstol says you should consider a shortened work day as a pilot project. Make the focus on results, not “putting in time.”
That may be easier said than done because most of us have an “hourly” mentality. Punch the clock. For the sake of our future economy, and our own well-being, things need to change.
This post by Cory Galbraith first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.