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This Company Gave Employees Fridays Off Paid, What Happened Next Is Amazing

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This Company Gave Employees Fridays Off Paid, What Happened Next Is Amazing

It isn’t the first time the idea of free Fridays has been around. Gone are the days of offices that only consist of grey walls and instant coffee. The competition is rising, as is the psychology behind keeping good employees happy enough to stay at their jobs. Some offices even go as far as offering team games, gym classes, and ping pong.

If one goes as far as questioning the work-pleasure balance, psychologically the Monday to Friday nine-to-five is out of balance at best. According to the article “We Gave Our Employees Fridays Off Paid and Now We Have an Amazing Team,” if we had just one more day to do the things we enjoy doing, the benefits would be outstanding

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So, what exactly are the benefits of having Fridays off work? And what did this company consider when making the decision for their employees? Better yet, what happened as a result of giving the employees a three-day weekend?

So What Did The Company Do?

These days, it seems as if balancing work and life outside work is more difficult than it has ever been. Employees expect more as companies deliver more, and there is little evidence to support the idea that ping pong tables motivate employees and make for better business. However, an extra day just might.

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The company gave their employees every other Friday off, paid, naming it the “18-Day Work Month” with the understanding that it was a truly productive way to motivate their employees. The psychology behind the idea is that people perform at their peak when they aren’t confined to the drudgery of set work hours every single week, day in, day out. Instead, they use the four days they are at work more productively, they focus more intently, and then they spend their three-day weekend having a true break and coming back fresh and focused on Monday morning. The employees are more driven because they are feel like they are being taken care of, that as human beings, they matter. This, of course, leads to happier employees.

How Is This Beneficial?

The obvious fear for companies when they look at this front on is that there are less work hours being applied to the job at hand. However, when approached strategically, they were smart enough to understand that figures may better add up with a more humanist approach. In other words, understanding that by taking care of good staff, your staff will in turn take care of you.

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Seems simple, right? When you look at the bigger picture, you can see that this system works. For example, if you are searching for employees who are professional, productive, and get things right the first time around, you’ll be searching for people who are intermediate or a ways into their careers. These people are usually more settled and a little further along in their lives, as opposed to the general beginner. They will value their free time with their life outside of work. They will be highly attracted to the four-day week and it will encourage them to shoot for the stars and do their very best for this kind of role. This, in turn, will cut your costs on recruitment and training.

It Makes Sense!

If we are wanting to employ the best, we need to treat them like the best and offer things beyond what they might expect. By promoting a unique balance on a very human level, we understand people and respect them as they are — incredible business people who are great at their jobs, but also family people, or people who have built lives outside of the workplace. Acknowledging this benefits everybody. The employees will feel in control and happy. Perhaps this is something for everyone to think about!

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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