Alessandra La Via
How your organisation can move to a 4-day working week – and still get all the work done
Wondering how you can move to a 4-day working week and still get all the work done? Digital productivity could be your solution.
As more and more organisations look to move to a 4- or 4.5-day working week, the same question keeps being asked – how can all the work get done in fewer hours? Harnessing digital productivity is key to the solution.
2022 sees thousands of UK workers begin the world’s biggest trial of the 4-day week, proving that organisations are recognising that work-life balance is what will set them apart from the competition when recruiting talent. But if the promise is 100% of pay for 80% of the time, how can a commitment to maintain 100% productivity be achieved?
In a digital world with so many distractions, digital productivity and focus is key
Microsoft’s Hybrid Work Trends Report shows that digital work is here to stay. Since the pandemic began, the number of meetings per person has grown, we are drowning in chat messages and working more out of hours:
And as technology automates more of what we do, the future of work will require us to have higher level cognitive skills... but there's a huge challenge here – it's actually harder to achieve this than ever before in our digital world with so many distractions! 28% of our working time is lost to distraction, and we end up working outside of the 9-5 to try and find that focus.
In fact, where is your phone when you are working? Did you know that data shows that the mere presence of our phones when working impacts working memory and focus? The answer to this question be having a bigger impact on your performance than you realise!
Email overload is just one example of how digital habits impact our productivity. We waste time sorting through the unnecessary to find the emails which actually need to be actioned, and the constant flow of emails never seems to stop.
This multi-tasking due to distractions is so inefficient – it’s time to turn down distractions and dial up our focus. Not only will it make a real difference to your people’s ability to perform, but it will also improve work-life balance and help them to enjoy work.
What are other organisations doing in this area? This is such an issue that other organisations are taking intentional steps to improve meeting efficiency, reduce unnecessary meetings altogether, and in turn increase productivity. For example:
To reduce unnecessary meetings, Dropbox only uses meetings for 3D’s (decisions, debates and discussions), then moves other interactions to asynchronous communication. You could trial this as a framework to decide whether what you are doing needs to be a meeting at all.
Microsoft uses intentional guidance and a framework to structure expectations at the start of meeting so they run more effectively.
What change can I make in my organisation? Wholescale culture change is of course complicated and benefits from specialist support, but there are steps you can take now to get ready to moving to a shorter working week:
Managers need to start with simple conversations with their teams to understand how their individual digital habits, and the digital culture of the team, is impacting their day and their performance. Uncovering the issues is the first step to making time-saving changes. Ask: Do you feel a pressure to be checking and responding to email out of hours? Are the number of emails, video calls or instant messages overwhelming you or preventing focused work? How easy do you find it to create healthy boundaries between work and home?
Craft and communicate clear expectations. It’s important everyone is aligned with the importance of healthy digital working and managers communicate clear expectations of their teams. Extra hours do not equal extra productivity! In fact, extra hours can hinder productivity. It’s time to work better and smarter, not longer and harder. We need to break myths that being busy is the same as being productive, educate on the value of downtime and know that green light on Teams is not how we evaluate performance!
Explore digital wellbeing and performance training. Digital wellbeing and performance training has become a key part of an organisation’s wellbeing strategy. With quality training you can raise awareness of the key wellbeing and performance issues of the digital age, enable a forum for team discussion and provide tools and strategies for healthy change.
Digital wellbeing consultancy Live More Offline is working with organisations specifically to enable them to move to a 4 or 4.5 day working week through smarter digital ways of working, and they also deliver Digital Productivity sessions which help people focus in a digital future of work.
To find out more about booking Digital Productivity sessions to be delivered in your workplace, or to have a consultation call to explore the ways in which Live More Offline can support your organisation with a bespoke plan, please contact Alex La Via at email@example.com | https://www.livemoreoffline.com/contact-us.