With the TUC just yesterday announcing its ambitions of the four-day working week it makes you stop and think about the current state of the workplace and begs the question, why are we still working in the 18th century?
You see our eight-hour workday was introduced during the industrial revolution, at a time when we were working 16 hour days. That was until Mill Owner and Social Philanthropist Robert Owen, campaigned for the working day to be cut in half, and the eight-hour workday was born – eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest. And whilst that was revolutionary in eighteenth century britain, it was 200 years ago and yet we are still working to those basic principles.
In fact, on average we work for 8 hours and 58 minutes a day, receive 192 emails, spend 2 of those hours in meetings, drink 2.7 cups of tea and grab just 15 minutes for lunch, often sat at our workspace. It’s staggering to think we spend nearly 9 hours a day working, yet research suggests we are only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day.
Surely it’s time now for the shift, a change in the way we work? We may have lost the work balance, but we have the power to change it all.
We are seeing sparks of change, with the likes of PWC who are now telling their new recruits to choose their working hours, this is something that SME’s over the country are steadily adopting to help combat absence at work and give people the opportunity for a life beyond the 9-5.
I believe there is a solution to adopt flexible working practices alongside the use of technology and digital advances to help us create a better balance that in turn will make us more productive at work and promote better health and well-being. I’m not talking highly technical systems only used by the digitally savvy, I’m talking easily implementable tips and tricks that anyone can use at any level to make a positive impact on their day and see them working less time but getting more done. Myself and my team are already doing this as part of our daily working practices, you may have heard me talking about working 4 x4, and we are also working closely with businesses and organisations to help them trial this in their workplace.
Interested in hearing more, contact me for a chat.
Initially, I created the ‘vision’ as a way of showcasing to people what could actually be possible in our future – flying cars, local cryptocurrency, smarter living, virtually live entertainment – but the thing that has really stood out to me is the approach to working life.
We are all busy people, especially when it comes to work. How many times have you had that frustrated conversation with a partner, friend or colleague about ‘not enough hours in the day’ and the terrible work/life balance? Whilst people’s time becomes more filled with endless tasks and unrealistic expectations, the working world is having a dramatic effect on not just overall productivity but our mental health and well-being.
On average we work for 8 hours and 58 minutes a day, receive 192 emails, spend 2 of those hours in meetings, drink 2.7 cups of tea and grab just 15 minutes for lunch, often sat at our workspace. It’s staggering to think we spend nearly 9 hours a day working, yet research suggests we are only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day.
Since researching the way we work it’s become even more apparent that we’ve lost the balance BUT we have the power to change it. The future workplace doesn’t need to be all about a 9-5 mentality with people shackled to desks, spending too much time juggling it all.
I introduced my idea about the ‘4×4’ way of working at a business steering group and since then have been testing the water with people I meet. The 4×4 scheme in simple terms would see us working 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. Sounds good? Most people’s reaction is a resounding yes, but why work like this and can we actually achieve this in reality? Well, I believe we can.
The 4×4 scheme will enable us to work in a more productive way, whereby we actually get stuff done, we structure our time better and our mental and physical health improves. It then allows us greater flexibility and frees up time to spend with family and friends and impacts local economy. Luxembourg is the most productive country in the world, yet they work with fewest hours, 15 hours less a week.
I believe that digital and flexible working practices are key to making this work. I’ve got some great ideas about how this can work in reality, across different sectors and the tools and systems that would help make this happen, but ultimately we need people to champion this and to see it being led from the top with CEOs and Directors seeing the value that this can bring to their business and their people.
I truly believe in the 4×4 scheme. I’ve already put together the details and I’m looking to speak with more people who are interested in finding out more about this. We are all humans, looking to get the very best out of life, let's step outside the 9-5 and shake things up for the better.
If you’ve found this interesting and would like to have a free strategy session about becoming 4×4, let me know. Drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
I woke this morning to read the latest: Our 8 hours working day is killing us, sitting at our desks is the new cancer, virtual reality means we will never leave the house again, we are addicted to social media and our mobile phones, our kids can only talk with their thumbs, oh and I almost forgot to mention that the robots are taking over.
Its all noise!
Negative news sells
Every morning we wake to the same wall of negativity. Negative news sells. Days gone by news broadcasts would be filled with the bad stuff with a 'and finally' sprinkled on at the end to mask the terrible world we apparently live in. 🙁
But nobody watches the terrestrial news anymore, do they? No we are online. Spending 3 hours and 33 minutes a day on social media. Yet these old methods have now spilled over into the digital landscape – meaning we can't escape.
Or can we?
We have the opportunity to use digital and technology to make life better!
You see we really have never lived in a time like now where we can embrace the technology, embrace the changes and use it for good. To quote someone much smarter than I, back in 1989 a chap called Doc Brown said;
Your future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one.
…And this is the opportunity we have.
So don't listen to the negativity. Look at what's real. Cut through the 'Fake news' and "Clickbait'. Look at how YOU can win every single day by embracing technology and digital. It can help you you save time on your workload, combat stress. reach more people, achieve your goals or even make money doing the thing you love. You just have to dig a little deeper and don't get put off by the jargon and the so called experts.
That's the world we live in. That's today. Let's make the future good one!
Simon McCaskill – Digital trainer, speaker and super geek.