The historical issue of working less to produce more and better. With the same conditions, of course!
Reading time: 2.00 m.
Many years ago, the work week lasted six days, until Saturday. In the 1900s, we gradually moved on to the short working week, ending on Friday, with the full weekend.
What should happen if the week got even shorter? If we worked until Thursday, with a three-days weekend?
It is already happening in New Zealand, for example, where there are successful cases of companies that have reduced the work week to 4 days, and a following survey has shown remarkable results with workers less stressed and happier. In the UK, as well, some companies introduced the 4-day week, taking inspiration from the energy and enthusiasm among employees for a bank holiday, i.e. a three-day weekend.
These new approaches have basically shown that people could do more things in their free time over a longer weekend, like meeting friends and relatives, making personal plans, having a day available at home. This emotional impact has a positive effect on productivity.
In Italy things (as usually!) could be made more complicated by extremely wrong habits, such as 24/7/365 connection. Mail, messages, phone calls make us always connected and available, making it harder to disconnect, and it increases the number of real weekly working hours.
Sanna Marin, the Finnish Premier, has recently proposed the introduction of a new flexible work time, based on 6-hours weekly and 4 days per week, while in Swedish, the 6-hours work day has been introduced since 2015.
Having an extra day during the week does not mean completely stopping work: apart from smartwork, it means taking care of your own things, and in addition, having time and possibilities to organize better the following week, and maybe rethink projects differently, with advantage for the company. In Italy, the virtuous example of Brunello Cucinelli is enlightening: no mail after 5.30 pm and before 8 am. The king of cashmere has built a successful company on this philosophy and approach.
Companies and mainly some of their managers (it is very useful the post on the link between companies and youth) must understand the disruptive importance of the impact of work life balance on productivity: working hard does not mean producing more!