9-to-5 grind is not a guar­an­tee for good re­sults

The Star (Kenya) - - News - CHRIS HAR­RI­SON Chris leads The Brand In­side’s African op­er­a­tions. chris@the­brandin­side.co.ke

I’ve been on holiday. You won’t have known that be­cause I wrote all my pieces in ad­vance be­fore I left. Like many peo­ple of my age, I was brought up not to dis­ap­point oth­ers. So I usu­ally end up dis­ap­point­ing my­self. But hol­i­days are good be­cause you re­lax and recharge, and per­haps most im­por­tantly you re­flect.

I re­flected that when you bear, as I do, the cross of dili­gence, you sub­mit will­ingly to the nine-to-five grind. Even though the in­for­ma­tion age rep­re­sents the big­gest shift since the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, our grow­ing mil­len­nial work­force still finds it hard to break norms set by Western in­dus­tri­al­ists two cen­turies ago.

Work­ers still get onto pub­lic trans­port or pri­vate cars ev­ery morn­ing to clog up the high­ways. Then they do it again at night. Mon­days are dreaded. Wed­nes­days are the mid­week hump. Only Fri­day morn­ings bring re­lief.

The other thing I do on holiday is read. Not the his­tor­i­cal non-fic­tion that is con­stantly boil­ing in my reading pot. Nor the air­port thrillers I used to con­sume for re­lief. These days I browse any­thing that looks in­ter­est­ing. I read a blog by a US chief ex­ec­u­tive who has moved his com­pany to a five-hour work­day. Ev­ery­one he em­ploys works from 8am to 1pm. By elim­i­nat­ing an hour-long lunch, they only re­duce their work time by two hours. His em­ploy­ees don’t get paid less.

The re­sults have been as­tound­ing, says Stephan Aarstol: “Last year, we were named the fastest-grow­ing pri­vate com­pany in San Diego. This year, our nine-per­son team will gen­er­ate $9 mil­lion rev­enue.” Aarstol makes pad­dle boards for peo­ple who en­joy the surf; his brand plays in the beach life­style cat­e­gory. “So a shorter day that frees em­ploy­ees’ af­ter­noons for ex­traor­di­nary liv­ing is a nat­u­ral brand fit.” Aha, brand cen­tric be­hav­iour fi­nally im­pacts the HR hand­book! Aarstol cites three rea­sons why you can re­duce work­ing hours by 30 per cent and main­tain pro­duc­tiv­ity:

Hu­mans are not ma­chines: Just be­cause you’re at your desk for eight hours doesn’t mean you’re be­ing pro­duc­tive. Even the best em­ploy­ees prob­a­bly only ac­com­plish two to three hours of ac­tual work. The five-hour day is about man­ag­ing hu­man en­ergy more ef­fi­ciently, by work­ing in bursts over a shorter pe­riod.

Hap­pi­ness boosts pro­duc­tiv­ity: Stud­ies show that hap­pier work­ers are more pro­duc­tive, and it makes sense. Hav­ing time to pur­sue your pas­sions, nur­ture your re­la­tion­ships, and stay ac­tive gives you more en­ergy emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally.

Fewer hours cre­ate scarcity: Hav­ing less time cre­ates pe­ri­ods of height­ened pro­duc­tiv­ity called “fo­cus div­i­dends”. A five-hour work­day forces you to pri­ori­tise high-value ac­tiv­i­ties.

So I’m back from my holiday. Have I com­mit­ted to a five-hour work­day? No, but I am think­ing about the times of day when I am pro­duc­tive and the times when I am not. I’ll keep you posted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.