The reduction of working hours promises to be the solution for companies and employees. On the one hand, it would facilitate the reconciliation between work and personal life. And on the other hand, it would increase productivity since employees would take advantage of it more and better by having less time. The theory is very nice, but what happens if we put it into practice?
A New Zealand company launched the experiment and reduced the working week to two months. Employees went to work four days a week instead of five receiving the same salary. The result? Engagement and work motivation increased, while stress was reduced and productivity increased.
Now this study has reopened the debate on the reduction of working hours. So much so that the Confederation of British Trade Unions last month proposed introducing the four-day work week, with three public holidays and keeping the same pay. This proposal aims to solve efficiency and productivity problems, improving the quality of life of workers.
Pros and cons of reducing working hours
There is no doubt that an employee who can reconcile work with his personal life feels more motivated. It is more efficient, works with greater energy, and has a greater ability to manage time better.
At the same time, the employee feels more involved and committed to the company. This is mainly because professionals highly value work-life balance, and having less time to complete pending tasks, the sense of responsibility is greater.
The reduction in working hours would also mean a reduction in stress and fatigue. However, establishing a shorter workweek would inevitably increase the daily workday, concentrating the 40 hours per week in just four workdays.
The problem with the intensive working day is that this could have the opposite effect to the desired one, generating more stress and reducing the concentration and efficiency of the employees.
There is no doubt that the length of the working day has a significant influence on productivity. If we have fewer hours to work, we will lose less time, increase our performance and focus more on important tasks.
However, if these tasks are somewhat lengthy complex, the employee may need more time to develop their full potential and get the task completed successfully. In this case, the reduction in working hours could generate a significant imbalance. Therefore, each company should decide the most appropriate way to obtain the highest possible productivity, always attending to their needs and interests.
If there is no salary reduction, the productivity increase has to be tangible, since otherwise, the company’s results would not improve, rather the opposite. In addition, in many sectors, the reduction of working hours would imply hiring more personnel to reach the same turnover.
On the other hand, the studies carried out affirm that by reducing the working day to four days a week, the company’s energy consumption and operating costs would be reduced.
Nobody said that running a company was easy. Still, we know that there has to be conciliation to increase productivity and retain talent, and thanks to new technologies, you can achieve it. So, why not start by automating all the management processes of your company?