Do you loathe long working hours? You’re probably in luck. There’s a German company beta testing a 5-hour work day, and maybe soon enough, it’ll be the norm everywhere in the world. All the same, you can’t expect to work for a mere five hours a day with no catch, can you?
Just recently, Erick Morath from the Wall Street Journal reported that Rheingans Digital, a consulting firm based in Bielefeld, Germany is operational for only 5 hours a day. The employees must love it there, don’t you think?
Spend Time with Family
According to the company’s CEO Lasse Rheingans, the need to spend time with his family is what drove him to try out the 5-hour work day. Fewer hours at the office meant more time for his kids, and he thought that his employees would appreciate it too.
So, how does Rheingans ensure that his organization is still running as efficiently as other players in the same industry? Well, for starters, he has put in place a ban on personal phones during working hours, and small talk is shunned upon.
Also, the company’s employees are only allowed to log into their work emails twice while meetings shouldn’t last for more than 15 minutes. Sounds like just the company you’d want to work for, doesn’t it?
If you’re in the United States though, you may have to wait for quite a while for this to be your new reality. Flexibility in workplaces, although gradually becoming popular, is still largely uncommon in the country. A 2018 study found out that only 23% of employees in the US feel that their workplace offers flexible working options, and since there’s no legislation mandating companies to do so, flexibility may be a long time coming.
Back to Rheingans’ 5-hour work day, existing research on some of its aspects shows that it could end up boosting productivity. Take the smartphone ban, for example. A 2017 iPhone study conducted by the University of Texas-Austin found that when the test subjects were in a room with a phone, be it on, switched off or one that wasn’t theirs, they showed a dip in attention, memory, and intelligence.
The study team credited this to the emotional attachment we have to phones, making them much more distracting than our other everyday basic items. Truth be told, how long can you go for before you get the urge to reach out for the device? There may be no notification popping up, but you’ll still want to scroll through it.
After close to eight hours at the office, you most definitely feel tired in the evening, don’t you? And the cycle repeats itself Monday to Friday. If you worked at Rheingans, you’d be in heaven on earth. Dr. Sahar Yousef is a renowned neuroscientist and equates overworking yourself (which in his book is going for 22 hours without any sleep) to having a .08 blood alcohol level. A well-rested individual, he says, is a more productive one.
Balancing your professional and personal life has also been shown to augur well for employees. In America though, finding this balance is often a daunting task for most workers. If you’re unhappy at work, this will definitely overflow into other aspects of your life, and could also affect your mental health.