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How a Shorter Workweek Can Benefit Both Employees and Companies

February 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Have you ever felt that your dedication to the job was evaluated by the number of hours you were physically present onsite, or the number of hours you were reachable? This is often used as a determination of work ethic.

We ourselves often boast about the number of hours we dedicate to the job, under the guise of complaining about it. While you grouse that you come in at 6 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m., or work six days a week, it is sometimes a form of one-upmanship.

Those people who routinely stay late and/or come in early often claim to do so because there are fewer interruptions at those hours and so they feel they can actually get something done. However, the more hours you work, the more likely that your productivity per hour drops. As the day drags on it becomes harder and harder to focus effectively.

Instead of “honoring” those employees who work long hours, perhaps managers and owners should be asking why those employees are not getting enough done within normal business operating times. The question might be, “What can our company do to help employees work more effectively and efficiently throughout the day?” Let them know that they are expected to accomplish work within a set block of time. Then give them the time management training and tools they need to actually do this. Otherwise you end up with tired, stressed workers who are dragging from the time they come in each day.

Everyone needs a break at some point. That is why more companies are recognizing the benefits of sabbatical leave as a counter to burnout. In 2007, 16% of U.S. employers offered unpaid sabbaticals and 4% allowed paid ones, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

A sabbatical isn’t available or practical for everyone, but training in the best methods for developing an efficient and effective work schedule should be a staple of every business environment.

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Tags: Work Hours · Work Life Balance