Many employers are still under the faulty impression that making their employees sit at a desk and put in 40 traditional hours per week equals productivity. I am here to tell you that the traditional 40 hour work is very outdated. Here are the reasons why!
It does not account for modern technology.
Having employees commute in every day and sit in traffic only to sit at a computer and do work that they could easily do from home does not make sense. With the advancement of the internet and having access to information at our fingertips, if your employee is able to work from home based on the job that they do, then let them. Commuting makes people angry especially during winter months. If your employees are angry then they are not productive...
It does not account for work-life balance
With the working family having kids and having to balance all the demands of family life and work, having employees work eight hours per day, five days per week is sometimes not the practical thing to do. What I suggest is moving towards a system that will allow them to work around their family obligations. Allow them to finish tasks at varied hours outside of the traditional 9 to 5 setup. This suggestion goes hand in hand with the use of modern technology. Again, if an employee has a position that allows flexibility in the times that the work can be done, then allow him or her to do so. Giving them the flexibility to prioritize work and family life will create happier and more productive employees.
It does not account for the learning curve
Let's face it,if your employee has been doing the same job for years, they probably can do it with their eyes closed. Why subject seasoned employees to the same learning curve hours as novices. If these employees are not promote-able meaning maybe there's no room to go up, give them another reason to enjoy doing what they do. Such as allowing them to do their work in the actual time needed to make it successful. If after years of doing their job and it only takes 32 hours for example instead of 40 hours, then make the work week 32 hours. Here's what is really happening when you force employees to work 40 hours when they only need to work 32 or 30, they spend a lot of time doing other things on your time. Things such as surfing the net or using social media just to make up the time.
It focuses too much on quantity not quality
When people are forced to work more than necessary, it creates a watch the clock system not a watch the task system. What if you could still get the same quality work from your employees in a fraction of the time. Would it not make more sense to incorporate this kind of mental of quality not quantity. For example, if you set a quota for your telemarketing department that they have to book 2 appointments per day or 10 appointments per week. What difference does it make if they accomplish this quota in 30 hours for the week as oppose to 40. Are they not accomplishing the same results in less time?
I am not saying that you should encourage employees to do less work if you ditch the traditional 40 hour work week. Nor am I encouraging cutting employee salary or pay just because they can accomplish the necessary work in less time. I am rather encouraging employers to see the traditional work week for what it is- not a one size fits all. Be flexible and incorporate ideas into your work environment that makes sense... not just follow the norm.
Dahlia Drummond is a wife and mother of three children ranging in age from 19 to 3 and another one due any day. She has a Business Management Degree from Ryerson University. Her approach in life is to keep things simple. She believes that every problem has a solution, even if the answer is to do nothing. She has been supporting small businesses for over 15 years. Click here to contact her.