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Should Your Startup Consider a Shorter Working Week?

Posted by Neha De

November 4, 2019


A business in New Zealand experimented by offering their employees a 32-hour work week while paying them for 40 hours. 

The results? Happier employees and increased productivity.

In fact, the experiment worked so well the company found their staff to be on time, have better attendance, take less breaks, and produce at the same level as they did with their five-day work week.

While this same experiment has been repeated in countries all over the world, it may leave you wondering if your startup should consider a shorter working week.

Let’s look at the benefits.

What Do Your Employees Do All Day?

Does your staff actually work the whole eight hours you are paying them for when they work five days per week?

It seems the answer is actually, “No.”

A study on worker productivity found that office workers are only productive about two hours and 53 minutes of each day.

While this study finds employees actually work for about three hours each day, other studies show they may work up to five hours a day.

This is still a long way off from the eight hours you are paying them for.

Procrastination, breaks, web surfing, distractions, texting, and talking to co-workers often eats up the other hours in the day.

The conclusion? Having your team members stay at the office for eight hours doesn’t make them more productive.

While they are “putting in” the hours and are at work, they aren’t actually working.

What are Your Employees’ Frustrations?

Many employees struggle with a work-life balance, and this causes them a lot of stress.

You’ll find that a large portion of your team members feel burned out and lack the drive to get the job done in an efficient manner.

This may all be because they don’t have enough time off. Employees today get frustrated when their work-life balance is out of sync with their real lives.

So, what can you do?

Your Options as a Startup

First, you want to concentrate on results and not hours. The results are what’s important not the hours each employee works.

Hire employees you trust, give them a job to do, and let the hours work themselves out.

If you’re ready to try a 32-hour work week, a work week of four 10-hour days, or even shortened days, you want to rethink how you do things.

Concentrating on results and not people in chairs is the best way to do it. You also want to review how your team works. Here are a few suggestions to increase productivity even more:

  • Drop unproductive meetings.
  • Let workers work remotely.
  • If you schedule meetings, set a start and end time and don’t put them in the middle of a day.
  • Use messaging platforms like Slack to communicate.
  • Fine-tune your job descriptions and responsibilities.
  • Revise your review platform so you focus more on productivity and results goals.

You’ll find that by taking these steps you set up an environment where your staff is more rested and relaxed and prepared to work hard during the four days they are on.

Final Thoughts

So, does a shorter working week make employees more productive? It seems that it indeed might.

Employees can use their extra day off to run errands, go to appointments, and feel less stressed and more refreshed.

With a few less hours in the office, you might just find they are more productive and energized. They need fewer breaks and time off because you’re actually giving them the time off they need.

Work life balance improves, and with a shorter working week, so may your startup’s overall productivity.

Ready to give it a try? Set a time frame for your experiment and see if you have the same great results as businesses the world over.

Are you a new startup ready to succeed? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your HR duties, finances, payroll and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.

Image: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash


Neha De
Neha De

Neha De is a writer and editor with more than 13 years of experience. She has worked on a variety of genres and platforms, including books, magazine articles, blog posts and website copy. She is passionate about producing clear and concise content that is engaging and informative. In her spare time, Neha enjoys dancing, running and spending time with her family.

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