The ‘9-5’ has always been the standard when it comes to working in the UK, however, as more Millennials make it into the workplace, attitudes and opinions to the 9-5 are beginning to change. With businesses across the world offering alternative working options, and with increased importance on employee satisfaction, do you think it’s time to rethink the 9-5?
According to the recent results of a ‘Global Attitudes to Work’ survey, UK workers believe that over 36% of their time spent at work is unproductive. These insights were gathered after questioning 6,250 employees in different countries and found that European workers rated themselves as more productive than those in the UK.
With technology advancements, it is estimated that the possibility of a four-day work week is likely to happen in the UK by 2100 – which is still quite a way away. However, countries like Germany, Norway, Sweden and France are already showing that you don’t have to work eight-hour days to be more productive.
In other countries, the 9-5 is pretty much dead:
Germany works the shortest hours with a weekly average of 26.37 hours.
Netherlands and Norway work the second and third shortest hours, working just 1% less than Germany respectively.
Germany can also request a reduction in their hours if they work for a company with fewer than 15 employees.
Sweden has introduced six-hour work days to motivate employees to work smarter while having more time to spend at home.
Germany offer 30 days off annual leave.
Norway offer 21 days each year.
In Denmark, the average paid vacation allowance is five weeks. In fact, they’re allowed to use three of these weeks during school vacation periods so that families can spend time together.
In Germany, flexibility is a popular working arrangement in larger organisations and is agreed between the company and the employee.
In France, a two-hour lunch is allowed. In fact, smaller businesses will shut for lunch.
In Germany, there is much a more relaxed atmosphere when individuals clock off for lunch. It wouldn’t be unusual for employees to have a lunch beer.
In Germany, management are completely banned from calling staff after hours so that employees can appreciate their time away from work.
In France, there are established out-of-work hours where nothing outside of work should impact their day.
Norway, Sweden and France take a strong stand when it comes to preventing worker burnout. There are thorough strict paid leave programmes, compulsory vacation time and maternal and paternal paid leave.
So, What Do We Want?
Research has found that employers find it easier to attract top talent with flexible working options and a better work-life balance. UK workers state that flexible working is a benefit that they are attracted to – with 35% listing it as their top benefit. Workers don’t just want these benefits for no reason, a 2017 YouGov survey of British businesses and employees found that 89% of individuals believed that flexible working would make them more productive. But how?
Less Is More
It appears that employers have traditionally followed the logic that the longer someone is on the job, the more work that they produce. This isn’t always the case. Extra time in the workplace can make people unfocused, especially if there’s no advantage to finishing tasks faster. However, when employees are rewarded for working more quickly, some surprising results emerge.
A study in Sweden investigated two groups of people – some who worked 40 hours and some who worked 30 hours in a week. The researchers found that those who worked fewer hours worked more efficiently.
Not only this, decreased working hours improves employee health. The researchers from the Sweden study found that participants who worked six-hour shifts rather than eight actually used 4.7% fewer sick days. The participants stated that working fewer hours made them feel happier, which made them feel less run down.
What do you think? Is it time to rethink the 9 – 5?
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