Rethink the 8-Hour Workday; It’s Time

We all, at some point, argue that we need to put in more hours to show that we are working. But really, how many hours a day do you or your employees work? The chances are that your average working day is 8 hours, but your productive hours during this period are less, much less.

To reinforce this argument, the origin of the 8 hours of work in a day policy must be evaluated.

200 years ago, the industrial revolution created an economy that was run on Labor. In 1817, a welsh activist, Robert Owen, argued that workers needed eight hours to labor, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for resting. At that time, this was a radical idea because workdays were anything between 12 hours and 16 hours.

In the early 20th century, the Ford Motor Company adopted this radical idea of an 8-hour workday, and to top on this “lunacy,” they doubled the wages of the workers.

Let us just say that these changes at the Ford motor company paid off immensely because productivity skyrocketed. The working conditions for the employees improved and they were more motivated, developing a work ethic that could only be envied.

A recent study analyzed 2,000 full-time office workers, showed that with all honestly, in your 8-hour workday, only about 3 hours count for productivity among your employees. The study makes sense when you factor in all sorts of distractions, genuine and made-up, that employees engage in while at the office. Some of the most prominent office distractions include:

  • Browsing news websites: 1 hour 5 min
  • Checking social media: 44 min
  • Catching up and gossiping with coworkers: 40 min
  • Checking for new jobs postings: 26 min
  • Taking smoke or health breaks: 23 min
  • Making calls to partners/friends: 18 min
  • Fixing hot drinks: 17 min
  • Texting, chatting or instant messaging: 14 min
  • Eating snacks: 8 min
  • Making food: 7 min

Some of these distractions, especially those related to internet use, can be regulated by applying content filtering solutions on your network. Content filtering services block access to non-work related websites including social media, pornographic sites, sports sites, betting sites, among other inappropriate websites that are not only timewasters but are also conduits for malware.

For all we know, it could be time for another radical suggestion like Robert Owen’s, and its implementation like the Ford Motors Company did 200 years ago, to increase workers’ productivity and employee satisfaction.

Who knows; but the least you can do at this moment is to deploy content filtering solution in your company network to keep your workforce away from online distraction. To learn about taking back the workday, contact us today!

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