What if you only had to work five hours per day. What could you do with the other 19 hours each day? Maybe you can if you really want to.
Studies of the workday indicate that most people are only productive five hours each day. There is a German company that is experimenting with the five-hour work day and getting as much productivity as they did with an eight-hour day previously, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
Here are the rules:
- Phones kept in backpacks (no calls or text messages).
- No social media or Internet distractions.
- Check company email twice per day.
- Small talk is discouraged (except for 15 minutes before work).
- Meetings are limited to 15 minutes each.
- Work hours are 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
- Employees may socialize after work by going out to lunch at 1:00 and going home.
People fill the available time
People who work reduced hours are often as productive or more productive than those who work full-time. There is a natural focus on not wasting time with a shorter work day.
I worked with a manufacturing plant running 10-hour shifts, except for days the company softball team had a game. Analysis of the results were that workers did as much work in 8 hours as in the normal 10 hour day. Before we attribute bad intent, it is important to realize there is some human nature involved that impacts all of us.
What if you used some or all of the above rules to manage your day? How much more productive could you be? I have seen 15-minute meetings have great impact. I have personal experience of spending too much time on email messages.
When I had to carve out another 35 hours per week to get my MBA, I found the time while working more than full-time. I still have not figured out where all that time went after I completed the degree.
At least one German company has found success getting as much done in a 25-hour workweek as in a 40-hour workweek.
Not everyone wants to work less. When asked about what people would do with an eighth day in the week, most said they would work. If that is the case, using the rules might allow for more productivity.
Saving social media to non-work hours would help many people if it allows them to spend less time at work.
It’s good to know there are options that are working for some people.