The path of least resistance and how we can work the minimum and enjoy the maximum – this has been the pressing hedonistic issue of our times. However, pleasure-seeking as it may sound, the real deal is that we do indeed want to let the value of our work speak for itself and progress to free up time so that we can use the rewards that we gained from our work to enjoy life as a whole.
There is just so much of life that we can do outside of work, or even studies for that matter (and for those who are doing both at the same time, we salute you), and to live out a purposeful life, we should indeed take stock of where we are right now when it comes to something that seems to desire to consume us.
Currently, the average work hour is about 40 – 45 hours, but a recent report on UK entrepreneurs showed that they worked about 37 hours each week on average. The real question that people would really like to know is “Can we really have a 4-day work week?” and with that comes the question of translating productivity into value within either a shorter amount of time, or having to work much longer hours during 4 days (or having both simultaneously). To embark on this, employers (and employees who wish to suggest this) could perhaps consider these 2 factors for a start:
1. Transiting into living an integrated work-life – where work can be taken out into life and life can be incorporated into work. This way, the office will increasingly become a shorter term “parking lot” since we are now away more often from our desks and can be out and fulfill work. Employers need to be able to buy into this concept. Employees must be prepared for interruptions. Not all jobs can be translated into this approach, but it is not an impossible feat and can be accomplished.
2. Slightly longer months and slightly shorter ones – It all comes down to math in hours. Since we are all paid according to our value contribution and time is still a part of the equation, businesses can be examined as to the time where they would need greater face-time, and schedule for that to take place with employees. Since employees are already putting in extra hours in the office, they can be compensated with shorter work weeks in other months. Learn the ebb and flow of peak periods and make adjustments to work schedules. If April – July is a peak month, then make August – Oct a 4-day work week along with off-in-lieus set in to incentivise staff.
While these are just quick pointers, the whole deal is to be able to creatively work out ways to help ease staff into such an arrangement, which is in fact, very doable. At the end of the day, it is about the level of productivity that work-hours translate to. If we can accrue the same value for shorter hours given technological advancements or creative scheduling, let’s be flexible and make it happen.
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