Most modern employees are effective for about four hours a day the rest is padding and unproductive fretting (US researcher Alex Soojung -Kim Pang "Why you get more done when you work less.") Which is interesting since the average American works a longer day that most Europeans and has only 2 weeks paid holiday a year. On reading this my first question was which four hours? Are people more effective in the morning when they are fresh and less so late afternoon when they are tired or is it simply that half the time at work most people aren't doing anything productive?
The Swedish government funded an experimental six hour working day in which workers continued to be paid for eight. The result less sick leave, stress and more productivity.
But it's not just tackling the long hours culture, reducing hours will In itself not change much if the job is wretched and overly stressful.
So if we want to make people more effective at work we need to end the long hours culture and make work more interesting and varied, give people more opertunity to manage their time so that people feel that work has meaning and they feel valued. Which of course is why most senior managers enjoy higher job satisfaction, that and the fact they are paid a lot more!
Blair McPherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk