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Topics: Organizational Culture, Sustainability
Productivity Play - Condensed Work Week
This month's PM Network has an article on organizations that have abandoned the 40-hour work in favor of a more condensed paradigm as a way to increase productivity. As quoted in the article:

In late 2019, Microsoft Japan completed a pilot project to move select teams to a four-day week - and say a productivity surge of 40%."

It is an interesting article with some thought-provoking statements. What are your thoughts on a condensed work week? Do you see this as something viable for organizations to incorporate?
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I think there are much more than just reducing workhours = productivity surge. Obviously the function is crucial in determining if reduced/condensed workhours would be beneficial since not all functions lend themselves to this. Is it viable? Most certainly.
This is my view - first, we started with an open plan to encourage and facilitate collaboration. Great now we can all sit and listen to little Annie or big Johns enthusiastic account of last nights episode of xxxxxxxx. This normally continues for 2-3 hours as people trickle into the workplace. Then we decided that Agile will fix everything and if you are not Scrumming your not woke. Enter the standup, everywhere!. So once everything has started to settle at around 10 am and we all know what happened in your life during the weekend the green team has their standup in the middle of the open space. At around 12 we can finally get to do some work after we return from lunch.
I start at 6 am at the latest and get more done before 8 am than I get done during the whole rest of the day. Just my view.
Andrew

I heard many organizations are thinking to move in this direction and some other organizations like big telecom companies are establishing a business model where they allow people to work from home which will give employees more comfort and at the same time decrease the company’s overheads, if that makes sense.

RK
Andrew -

For knowledge-based work, forward-thinking leadership teams realize that maximizing utilization is not the same as maximizing value. It is a shame that such thinking does not pervade all industries and even specific sub-sectors within industries. For example, game development companies are well known for being "sweatshops".

Innovation and creativity come from a balanced lifestyle not from burning the midnight oil.

Kiron
Thanks, gentlemen! Great insights. There would certainly be repercussions when transitioning to a new working model, even downstream when considering forecasting schedules, budget, and talent.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the email notice :)
The question is not so much the immediate impact on productivity but whether it is sustainable. I am of the opinion that there is an immediate peak, then a leveling out and finally a drop back to where it was and possibly lower. Then there is the issue of pay, is it effort related (time spent) or result oriented?
The top performers will perform regardless of the conditions, the non-performers will find new ways to avoid exertion.
I remember a couple of decades ago when I tried compressing ten days of work into nine. I did not mind the daily extra twenty minutes.
I've worked in enviroments that have done "summer hours" where we had a half day on Friday by working a bit extra during the week.

I'm actually for this compressed workweek because I think the trend right now at many companies is to work into weekends and too much overtime which inevitably leads to burn out.
Dear Andrew,

I do not think their is a direct correlation between a shorter work week and an increase in productivity.

I do think working smart allows workers to focus their time on aspect of their work that will have the greatest impact.

Technology has greatly cut down on mundane and labour intensive part of work. Communication is instantaneous, important decisions can be made a lot quicker especially if it is market and time sensitive and in many new start up a lot of the back office support functions have been outsourced.

These days an offices and workplace looks a lot different that it did twenty years ago. Most don't have a reception, open planned office throughout, shared meeting room, kitchens, lobby's and car parking to name just a few areas.

So this change in work practices has freed up a lot of time that was otherwise spent on areas not directly benefiting the business.

Organizations are giving this free time back through more flexible time approach to work; increase in holidays per year, the shorter working week from five days to four days and working per project as apposed to role, task or function.

One interesting takeaway will be to see if this trend increases and the work week will no longer be defined as Monday to Friday nine to five but by a set amount of hours of your own choosing any of the seven days a week.

Daire
As a Owners Rep in the construction industry, I spend a lot of my time traveling all over the state to project sites for OAC's, Design meetings, CxA meetings, ExCo meetings and with some of that it can wear you down, especially if you have a full project load.

A 4 day work week would allow for more productivity in my personal life and work life and at the moment I am off every other Friday, but it would really be great to be off every Friday OR work from home the day after being on the road for a full 8 hours.
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1 reply by Peter Rapin
Mar 10, 2020 3:31 PM
Peter Rapin
...
The question is - would your productivity be more, equal or less?
The initial premise was to work less hours not the same hours over fewer days. 32 (maybe 36) hours over 4 days in lieu of 40 over 5.
Productivity is measured in results (units per hour) not effort (total hours).
The challenge is - how do you measure management productivity?
Mar 10, 2020 3:15 PM
Replying to Malika Meribe
...
As a Owners Rep in the construction industry, I spend a lot of my time traveling all over the state to project sites for OAC's, Design meetings, CxA meetings, ExCo meetings and with some of that it can wear you down, especially if you have a full project load.

A 4 day work week would allow for more productivity in my personal life and work life and at the moment I am off every other Friday, but it would really be great to be off every Friday OR work from home the day after being on the road for a full 8 hours.
The question is - would your productivity be more, equal or less?
The initial premise was to work less hours not the same hours over fewer days. 32 (maybe 36) hours over 4 days in lieu of 40 over 5.
Productivity is measured in results (units per hour) not effort (total hours).
The challenge is - how do you measure management productivity?
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