It has been proven in some instances that less can, in fact, equal more.
At a time when businesses are looking to trim staff, employers are demanding more of their employees, all the while, expecting increased productivity from their workforce.
In Barbados, most workers work five days a week, totalling 40 hours, inclusive of two off-days.
But what if that model is actually counter-productive to getting the most out of employees?
Imagine a Barbados where employees were required to work only four days – with the same pay – and given three off-days on a weekly basis.
And while that may sound
far-fetched, it may become a reality at some point in the
not-too-distant future (hopefully).
Countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Germany have all implemented four-day workweeks.
A recent study has actually revealed that a shorter workweek leads to more productive workers.
The findings of the study, which was performed in New Zealand, showed that a four-day workweek also made workers happier and less stressed.
The six-week trial, involving almost 250 employees across 16 different offices, was monitored by researchers at the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology.
Although workers only clocked in for four days – while still being paid for five – trimming their hours from around 40 to 32 per week, they were actually 20 per cent more productive.
Employees also showed a 24 per cent improvement in their work-life balance and a seven per cent decrease in their stress levels.
The study revealed that team engagement increased by 20 per cent, on average. Additionally, researchers said a shorter workweek motivated employees to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office, like cutting meetings down to 30 minutes and telling colleagues when they were being a distraction
In fact, one business was so impressed by the results of that study that it took the decision to make the shorter workweek a permanent option for its employees.
Internationally recognized firms Deloitte and KPMG have also offered four-day workweeks with flexible hours to their employees.
One of the recommendations for those businesses interested in adopting a similar stance included implementing it on “a test drive” during a period in the year when workflow generally slows.
Not surprisingly, another study done by HR consulting firm Robert Half entitled “The Case for a 4-Day Workweek?” revealed that 78 per cent of full-time employees believed they could do their job in under seven hours each day if they could work uninterrupted.
Forty-five per cent acknowledged they could finish their work in five hours or less.
That survey interviewed nearly 3,000 employees across eight nations.
Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that productivity is highest when people work fewer hours, and worker output actually drops once people clock in more than 48 hours per week.
It also linked putting in overtime with increased rates of illness, injury and death, not to mention weight gain and more alcohol use and smoking.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley has already indicated that changes will be coming to the country’s labour laws.
Among some of those will be the allocation of lieu days for workers, which could be used by workers in cases of emergency or for personal issues.
She said those changes were necessary as the only provisions currently in place for workers were sick days.
Mottley said it meant that in many cases persons were “forced” to use their sick days as an excuse to skip work, even when they were healthy.