Shifting to a Four-Day Workweek? Address These Productivity Killers


Many productivity killers are going undetected by organizations, soaking up employees’ valuable time and costing business leaders money. Dan Mallin, founder and CEO of Lucy, shares common productivity killers and solutions for organizations looking to transition to a four-day workweek. 

The four-day workweek is taking off, and for a good reason. The model delivers higher levels of employee wellness and engagement without sacrificing business productivity. Firms offering a four-day workweek also see a spike in job applications, pointing to the recruiting and retention value of shifting to a shorter working week. 

The business case is there. However, there are risks to implementing a four-day workweek and not getting it right. Some employees may not feel enabled to take a three-day weekend given their workloads and could become disgruntled and eventually quit. The pressure to get things done in less time could increase employee stress and burnout if employers do not equip staff with the tools and resources to drive efficiencies. 

Before you jump on the four-day workweek bandwagon, consider and address these productivity killers that lurk within most large organizations. 

Tracking Down Information That Exists — Somewhere

According to McKinsey, employees spend 1.8 hours every dayOpens a new window , or 9.3 hours a week, searching for and gathering the information they need to do their jobs. That is a workday wasted on scoring shared drives and documents each week. When employees cannot find what they need, they either spend precious time recreating or commission others to deliver those existing resources.

If you can eliminate this scavenger hunt for information, employees will have more time during the workday to get things done. This reduces stress and puts them in a position to unplug and enjoy a three-day weekend. Technology is available to instantly and automatically uncover the exact information — specific page, slide, or video time stamp — employees need to drive their work forward, freeing capacity and making every team and individual across the organization more efficient. 

Think about it this way: Employees already work four days a week. They spend the fifth day looking for information. Address the information-gathering inefficiency, and you can give employees that time as a day off. They will return from the long weekend refreshed and ready to tackle the workweek.  

Asking Colleagues Questions and for Hidden Resources

Employees who cannot find information or resources often turn to their colleagues. This disrupts the productivity of multiple people. Subject matter experts already carry heavy responsibilities within their roles, and constant interruptions are detrimental to their productivity and, ultimately, the organization’s success. Suppose subject matter experts wait to answer questions. In that case, it hurts on the other end: employees spend an average of five hours weekly waiting to connect with subject matter experts, often resulting in project pauses or delays. 

The right technology can alleviate this productivity killer by providing teams with the answers they need to move their work forward. This is without needing to jump through hoops to find the right subject matter expert to gain their input, which disrupts the precious time of numerous stakeholders along the way. Eliminating the ‘middleman’ between employees and the information they need gives precious time to both said “middleman” and those running in circles searching for information. All players in the scavenger hunt for information can work without constant delays and disruptions.

See More: Top 10 Employee Productivity Tracking Software in 2020

Spending Hours on Unproductive Meetings and Calls

According to a Korn Ferry studyOpens a new window , 35% of workers waste between two and five hours each week attending unproductive meetings and calls. This comes at a great cost, with over $37 billion spent annually on unproductive meetings. One of the biggest contributors to meeting inefficiency is too much time deliberating or finding the right answer to important questions. 

Let us say you are in a meeting and need to know your company’s plans to expand into Europe before moving forward with a project. Two colleagues have different understandings of the organization’s expansion plans. Typically, meeting participants will go back and forth until they agree on an answer, which might not be the right answer, or they reconvene after tracking down the company’s expansion agenda. The former participant risks making a decision based on inaccurate information, and the latter eats at the productivity of everyone on the team. 

An answer engine reads all the documents in your internal files and systems and surfaces the answer, so you have the information you need to decide. There is no more second-guessing or scouring through drives for an answer that should be readily available. The most efficient answer engine does all the work for the user so employees can focus on addressing strategic priorities and tackling pressing items.

Empower Your Workforce

The number of engaged employees is dropping for the first time in over a decade. According to Gallup, only 32% of employeesOpens a new window are engaged in their work. A four-day workweek is a great option for employers looking to boost the happiness and satisfaction of their workforce. Simply offering a shorter workweek will not add value if workers do not feel enabled to take the extra day to recharge. 

If there ever was a time when workers needed to focus on recharging, that time is now. According to Qualtrics, 38% of employeesOpens a new window feel burned out as inefficient processes hamper their productivity. Whether employees work from home or back in the office, leaders are missing an important factor in workforce productivity and engagement: ensuring employees can do their work to the best of their ability, no matter where they are. 

Invest in your processes and infrastructure to simplify core tasks, save employees time, and enable your workers to do their jobs well. Alleviating common productivity killers will enable a smoother transition into a four-day workweek. It will give workers more time to focus on priorities that matter to them and your business. The impact on employee engagement and business performance will be undeniable.

Do you plan to shift to a four-day workweek? How do you intend to address the productivity killers? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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