22 February 2019

Do Your Office Hours Affect Your Productivity

Do Your Office Hours Affect Your Productivity?

Whether you’re arriving at your desk hours early or burning the midnight oil at your shared office space in Shoreditch, how much of an impact are your office hours having on your productivity?

Do Longer Hours Make for Better Work?

When it comes to our working lives, there’s a tendency to assume that the longer the hours, the better the results. Whether it’s due to raised expectations, a rapidly approaching deadline or simply your own personal inclination to go above and beyond, many of us have found ourselves staying longer, arriving earlier or powering through lunch breaks without stopping.

In fact, there’s evidence that long, irregular working hours and stressful conditions are harmful not only to employee health and wellbeing, but company output as well. Tired, stressed and overworked employees are unlikely to be producing the very best work that they are capable of, no matter how late into the night they’re working, or no matter how many lunch breaks they’re skipping.

Overworking on one project or task can also take valuable attention and working time away from others – stress and burnout now account for around 40% of our sick days.

Employees and staff can both help to reduce the impact of workplace stress – thereby improving productivity – in a number of ways. Employers should be emphasising the importance of taking breaks and focusing on wellbeing, while staff themselves should make sure they’re sticking as closely as possible to regular working hours.

Now that the impact of working hours on productivity are recognised, an increasing number of employees are also experimenting with new approaches to their working weeks.

What is the Future of the Working Week?

Allowing employees to adopt flexible working hours is hardly a new development, but companies are becoming much more receptive to the idea. Whereas previously the practice was often limited to specific cases, such as to accommodate childcare, more and more businesses are letting their staff work for the hours that suit them – providing it does not inconvenience other staff.

This is also closely related to the rise of remote working, as technology has made it easier for staff to collaborate and communication regardless of whether they’re at home, on the train or in the office.

A growing number of companies are going even further. In 2014, Richard Branson’s announcement that he was offering his staff an unlimited holiday allowance was met with scepticism, but since then the idea has grown in popularity. Start-ups including JustPark and Songkick have both adopted the practice, and even claimed that it has improved their output and employee productivity.

Not every business will be able to offer unlimited holiday or a four-day working week, but there is a growing awareness and understanding of the fact that, when it comes to office hours, there’s more than one way of working. Longer hours don’t necessarily result in more productive employees, and finding the right balance that allows people to work in their own way can have real long-term benefits.

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