09 Nov Is It Time To End The 9-5?
Does working from home mean no more 9-5?
Dropbox is ending the traditional 9-5 workday and moving to a virtual-first company. Apart from core collaboration hours of 9-1pm, staff can set their own work schedule and work from home permanently.
Dropbox’s new policy is intended to help employees limit meetings to core collaboration hours and set aside time for focused work. Moving away from the standard 8 hour day will also help managers focus on an employee’s impact, rather than hours worked.
Some companies have increased their bottom lines by having a shorter workday. When Tower Paddle Boards, an online paddleboards seller, moved to a five-hour workday, sales more than doubled in one month. Blue Street Capital, a Californian finance company, also implemented a five-hour workday. The number of sales calls per salesperson doubled, and revenue increased by 30% in the first year, and 30% in the second.
Studies have shown that overworked and burnt out employees are less productive than well-rested employees. Counterintuitively, a shorter weekday can increase productivity, and help to avoid employee burnout.
If you or your company are considering whether to retire the 9-5 day and continue working from home, here are our suggestions on how to make a shorter workday work for you and your team.
#1 – Focus on results
One of the best things about working from home is flexibility. Employees can figure out what work routine maximises their productivity and stick to that.
A results-based mindset rather than an hours-based mindset is essential for ending the 9-5. A manager focused on results is a great role model for employees, helping them to focus on the essential tasks that will add value to the organisation.
As a manager, effective management requires employees to have autonomy – agreeing what outcome you want to achieve, but letting them decide how to achieve it.
#2 – Set contact hours
A shorter workday means that you need to be more conscious of when you schedule meetings if you need to have time at all. Setting core contact hours – or collaboration hours – means that your colleagues and clients know when they can reach you, and on what communication channels. You could also share your Google Calendar to make it easier to schedule meetings.
#3 – Lead with purpose
Leaders need to ensure that employees understand the purpose of the organisation and their role in it. So regularly remind yourself and your team of the ultimate goal that you’re all working towards. A clear purpose is essential for maintaining motivation and morale. As part of our PEP program, we can help your team clarify your end goal, and why it’s personally important for each employee.
#4 – Provide training and support
Many companies and employees have demonstrated remarkable resilience throughout 2020. But change can be challenging, and moving away from the familiar 8 hour day can be confronting.
Therefore, managers should make sure that employees have the right tools and support to be successful. Managers should check in regularly with their team and find out what they need to succeed. Common challenges include feelings of isolation, lack of access to senior executives, difficulties accessing the right information, and dealing with distractions. We address how to manage these challenges of remote work in our PEP Remote Program.
#5 – Communicate
Lastly, a shorter workday requires better communication. Talk with your team to find out how flexible working is going for them. What do they enjoy and what do they find challenging? If isolation is a challenge, try scheduling team social events or designated team days.
Also, remember that a simple “thank you” can do wonders for making people feel appreciated. Celebrate successes as a team and give regular, constructive feedback.
Some of us may never return to a 9-5 workday in the office. Ending the 9-5 workday can help avoid burnout and achieve a better work-life balance while increasing productivity. PEP has been assisting people in increasing their productivity for over 30 years. To support remote workers, we have developed a Remote Program to show you how to work from more effectively, regardless of working location. Learn how PEP can help you increase productivity and have more time for the important things in life.
By Simon Nicholls