Feb 09, 2017

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Why the Work Week Should Be Shorter

Productivity isn’t one-size-fits-all and it never will be. The question is: what’s the alternative to our standard work week?

As an organisation, employee or employer, you need to experiment with flexi-hours, remote working and energy cycles if you hope to reach optimal productivity. You need to make peace with the fact that every individual is likely to respond differently and their productivity will thrive in variations that best suit them.

What does a four-day 10-hour work week look like?

One trend that’s been gaining traction, has been lauded, dismissed and discussed on repeat is the four-day 10-hour work week.

If your employer presented you with the choice of working four 10-hour days per week – as opposed to the usual Monday to Friday, nine to five – which would you choose?

Companies such as Amazon, Google and Deloitte have trialed the four-day concept and, so far, have seen positive results.1

Ryan Carson, CEO of the technology education company Treehouse, agrees with the initiative. He believes that forcing employees to fit in 40 hours a week is “inhumane”, and that companies should place more importance on encouraging more work-life balance.2  Many working parents agree that flexi-hours go a long way towards helping them maintain a greater work-life balance.

Does a four-day-10-hour work week make you more productive?

You’ll walk away with 52 extra days and, according to a survey done in Birmingham, you’re likely to be more satisfied with your situation.3

On the flip side, 10 hours can seem very long for anyone hoping to achieve more. On average, people are only able to concentrate effectively for four to five hours before the wheels begin to fall off. 4 And what about clients, partners and suppliers who haven’t adopted your shorter week approach but who still need to work with you on a regular basis?

Getting around these questions is a matter of understanding that the four-day 10-hour work week doesn’t work for everyone. So, who is benefiting from this new approach to work productivity?

Who should adopt the four-day 10-hour approach to improve productivity?

1. Working parents needing flexi-hours for child care

Being a working parent means you work two full-time jobs – something that can have a serious effect on your productivity in the office, and at home. A quarter of parents interviewed reported spending only 34 minutes with their children every day, citing work as a major reason for holding them back from quality time with their family.5

The good news? Quality time increases significantly over weekends, and unsurprisingly so. Less time spent driving and at the office, coupled with increased energy, lends itself to more time being spent with loved ones. Imagine that you had 3 days dedicated to your weekend. Understanding that finding enough time during the week for your family is a hard reality for most parents, and committing yourself to more time on your off-days might mean improved relationships with those around you.

The difficulty with this approach is child-care. Finding schools and centres that are able to care for your children for 10 hours a day is no easy feat.6 The upside is that a four-day week means you spend less, overall, on the cost of child-care.7

2. Entrepreneurs hoping for shorter working weeks to pursue their side projects

When you think about the advantages of a four-day 10-hour work week, you might consider how much free time you’ll be able to accumulate: time for hobbies, family and general downtime.

But what about those who could use the time to achieve even more? Those who want to see a surge of productivity? Entrepreneurs hoping to get their business off the ground work more than 62% more than the average professional.8 To achieve the kind of hours necessary for your success, you often have to give up a secure paycheck and quit your day job. As an Entrepreneur, a flexi workweek focused on only 4 days of work a week would give you more freedom to pursue your side project, and potentially more time to turn it into a success.

Related content: Interview With Rob And Sam Paddock, Co-Founders Of GetSmarter

 Working employees

3. Employees who live far from their office, seeking an alternative to the 9-5

On average, people spend an astounding 42 hours a year sitting behind their wheels, waiting to make it to their offices.9 Think about how much more productive those hours would be if people spent them on the tasks at hand?

With the four-day 10-hour work, professionals are seeing that the two-hour adjustment to their work schedule gives them the chance to get in and out of the office faster. Freeing them up to spend time on things they enjoy and boosting their morale.10 An additional bonus? Less time in traffic also means less money spent on fuel – another factor contributing to overall job satisfaction.

Did you know our online short courses only require students to study between 7-10 hours per week?

Start using your time more productively by selecting an online short course from our portfolio.


Filed under: Career advice