Why are we still working in the 18th century?
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.