The Rise of an Unexpected Discussion
In a world that never sleeps, where 70-hour work weeks have become the norm, it’s time to question the trajectory of our work culture. The landscape is shifting, and the signs are clear—the evolution of work culture is upon us.
Breaking the Chains of the 70-Hour Work Week:
The HR industry is buzzing with insights, and a recent HRDIRECTOR article, ‘Should 70-Hour Work Weeks Be The Norm?’, has shone a spotlight on the prevailing norm of working far beyond the full-time standard. In a time dominated by trends focusing on work-life balance, it shows the other end of the proverbial spectrum, and it’s a wake-up call for organizations and employees alike to reevaluate the toll such demanding schedules take on mental health, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. As the years have passed, working harder, for longer stretches, more than your competitors, etc. has become a “badge of honor” and businesses have seemed to turn a blind eye towards what this could really cost them in the long run… Staff quitting? Complete burnout? A downward spiral from unrealistic and unsustainable goals?
“…it’s important to remember that working long hours can actually be counterproductive” the HR Director article states. “Many people came out of the Covid-19 pandemic re-evaluating their priorities and what they want out of life. This led to lots of employees craving a greater work/life balance. In order to attract and retain employees, employers have had to adapt to this and consider whether they can offer more flexibility. Here in the UK, there have even been changes to the law around making flexible working more accessible. So, stating that young people should embrace a 70-hour week therefore seems at odds with this.”
BetterUp even shares that “Once you pass the 50-hour mark, your productivity takes a downward turn.” More and more research is leading to the proof that “increased hours in” does NOT equal “increased productivity out.” To read more on the interesting negative returns of working far beyond your capacity, click here. On the contrary to what seems logical, studies have even shown the exact opposite to be true!
BetterUp revealed that “In 2019, Microsoft Japan decided to experiment with a four-day workweek. This reduced work schedule increased productivity by 40% and made employees happier. They even took fewer vacation days as a result. This experiment proved that giving employees more time to rest makes them more productive during their working hours.” Could this be the counterintuitive key we’ve all be looking for?
The Evolution Unveiled:
As we delve into the evolution of work culture, it’s essential to understand the forces at play. The once glorified long work hours are now facing scrutiny, and discussions are brewing on reshaping the workday for the better. But where is this evolution leading us?
The possible side effects are shedding light on what could be a shocking reality:
“Employees are much more likely to experience health issues and burnout when faced with such long working hours, which could result in increased absences from work. And on the other hand, presenteeism will likely rear its head, with staff members becoming anxious, depressed, and overly stressed, leading to decreased productivity which is obviously the opposite of what employers want from their employees—not to mention a lack of morale and a negative culture within the workplace.” – Thea Watson, Growth Director at BrightHR.
The Direction of Change:
With this being such a brutal consideration, flexibility may become the new currency of a loyal and satisfied staff. With the extended hours as a conversation on the table, companies can begin to take small steps such as:
The evolution of work culture beckons us to ponder—what lies beyond the 70-hour work week? How can organizations harness this transformation for the benefit of both employees and business outcomes? The future is calling, and it’s time to explore the uncharted territories of a more balanced, productive, and fulfilling work environment.
Click HERE to delve into the full article. Empowered, informed, and proactive HR is key to helping establish a culture that supports both the business and its people. Let’s embark on this journey together, unraveling the evolving dynamics of work culture and shaping a future where success aligns seamlessly with well-being.
Written by Noah Baker
#WorkCultureEvolution #FutureOfWork #BalancedProductivity #HRInsights
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