The Workplace Re-Imagined.
You might be busy, but are you usefully productive?
Many office-based staff are living-out a pointless existence, working 40 hours a week in a pointless 9 to 9 routine.
It seems as if we are still labouring under a pre-21st century pretense of how work is done! But, in a world increasingly driven by software and automation, if you’re at the office more than 40 hours a week then you are probably wasting a lot of those hours – attendance at the office is not a measure of work output. Sadly, we like the comfort of doing things the old ways – even if we know the old way isn’t working or even relevant in today’s society.
The digital world is disrupting so many facets of our lives, and technology presents the greatest opportunity to change the workplace for the better.
The pointless 9-5
Most businesses do things the way other businesses do things because “that’s the way it is.” That’s not innovative thinking. In fact, that’s down right lazy! It might once have been the case that collective working spaces, physical attendance and supervision were required but in many industries all of that has gone out of the window.
Technology has removed the need to be in the same space, and modern working practices and management no longer need (toxic) meetings, supervisors or time-keeping. The evolvement of a liberal working environment encourages greater personal creativity and increased productivity, both of which massively increase efficiency and contribute to greater competition. As a result, we no longer need to work long, fixed hours at an old-fashioned office.
In fact, where and when you work is today largely irrelevant in so many industries – output is measured in terms of value and deliverables. We’re human and we have limits on how long we can concentrate and be usefully productive… and those limits are far less than the average 8-hour working day.
It’s time, then, to reconsider our relationship with the workplace.
We’re a digital agency founded in 1996 and strived to stay ahead of the technology curve, and we’ve seen first hand the disruption that software and automation has caused in the workplace. We were early adopters of cloud-based technology and from day-one we operated as a location-agnostic business. This, we think, well places us to understand the challenges of the workplace and how to use technology to improve it.
In 2012, we completed our move to the cloud – that seems such an obvious move now but when we began our cloud journey in 2008 it seemed as fanciful and futuristic as hover-boards. The change to our business has been monumental and we always encouraged working from home, shorter hours and greater working flexibility. We’ve learned a lot about working in the digital space over the last 3 decades.
Two hours work, one hour break. Twice a day.
We’ve closely monitored work patterns for over a decade – measuring working hours, efficacy and (indirectly) stress-levels. As a result, we’ve come up with a sweet spot of around 4-hours per day with at least 1-hour of break time in between.
In our business, quality trumps quantity every day of the week.
It seems that after a couple of hours the quality of output takes a nosedive, working past this 2-hour limit just produces garbage that will need time to correct later. If you work in a business that relies on quality of work, shorter working stints are a magic way to raise your game.
Once you’ve reached your 2-hour work sprint it’s time for a break. Time to recharge the mental coils and also to reflect on the previous iteration of work – the break is as important as the work sprint. Be cautious, we’ve found that many try to cut this corner – it seems we’re overly keen to return to work.
For some, that’s two hours in the morning and then same in the afternoon with a long lunch. For others the working day starts at midday with a short break at 2pm and all done in time to see the kids when they return from school. Others, still, work well in the evening and may free up much of the traditional working day.
The working population has largely moved out of factories, so let’s leave behind the old ways of thinking about why and how we work the hours we do.
Working less is good for you. So very good for you.
Working fewer hours increases free time to be used for leisure, family, contemplation, enlightenment, interaction and education. Consequently, you will live a longer, more fulfilling and overall healthier life.
Just the reduction in time-related stress can make a huge difference. And it doesn’t just benefit the employed workforce – as an employer, you’ll have happier, more productive teams and fewer staff issues.
Working less is good for your customers.
A less pressured workplace means we can lavish attention and care on clients. Just working fewer hours frees up so much slack in the working day so that work becomes unpressured and quality of the output improves accordingly. You might think this might end up being more expensive, but often it is not. Getting the job done right first time removes problems, rework-time, project slippage and overruns.
It also means we can attract and retain the very best people, our working environment is the envy of the digital agency world – better people produce higher quality work and peerless levels of client service. Everyone really is a winner.