Goodbye to the 40 Hour Work Week? Maybe

The National Bureau of Economic Research said just before the COVID years in 2019 and the end of last year, the number of hours we spent working dropped by 33 hours a year per person. Most of the drop comes from the COVID pandemic that didn’t just disrupt how we do our jobs and where, it led many of us to question why we should be working where we work in the first place.

During COVID resignation rates skyrocketed. But the pandemic isn’t really the whole problem. The bureau said before COVID, resignations were inching upward. Once COVID hit resignations skyrocketed. You already know most of the reasons:

  • Burnout
  • An increase in remote work
  • Panic linked to our very existence
  • Panic at having to return to an office existence

Anthony Klotz is a professor of management at London’s UCL School of management. He said these issues, boring workplace tasks and more, caused many workers to just up and leave their jobs without jobs to replace what they left.

“There’s a growing annoyance with work tasks that add no value to our lives,” Klotz said. “People have a much lower tolerance for this, and are less afraid to say, ‘We don’t want to waste our time.’”

Before COVID we all found ways to get around those inconvenient work schedules, long commutes, break room gossip and boring, seemingly pointless, two-hour meetings. Now after working from home for times ranging from a few months to a couple of years, many workers found with better time management they could develop a better work-life balance.

Commuting time got replaced by more exercise, getting caught up on things around the home and more time with kids. Complicating that new found freedom is the 40-hour work week.

“The general consensus, as I’ve noticed, is that people are happy to come back to the office and perform their core job functions, but they don’t have a lot of tolerance for things outside of that,” Klotz noted. “Like, if you’re making me come to the office or attend an on-site meeting, it better be good.”

Increasing inflation and higher costs for daily living have people thinking their time is more valuable and often more valuable than their current compensation. Many are now working part-time side jobs to bring in more money.

Klotz says that has shown them that their time is more valuable and how easily they can turn that time into more income. He said stats from a survey of 2,000 workers by freelance finder, Fiverr, show that 73% of us plan on doing some freelancing this year.

“If your boss at your primary job asks you to work extra hours, you can calculate exactly how much that additional time is worth if you have a side hustle or freelance project with an hourly rate that would pay more,” Klotz pointed out.

All of this — as most of you that are employers know — is of great concern. Klotz said most of the employers and CEOs he has talked with are asking one compelling question — How do we make sure our employees have rich lives outside of work while still getting their core jobs done?

Four day work weeks are being tried. Many test runs have seen increased productivity and more positive employees. Other companies are experimenting with meeting-free days, Fridays where employees work just half a day and some are trying other time saving strategies to please employees.

Klotz doesn’t see the employee-pleasing practices to end anytime soon.

“The labor market remains tight, which means workers in most industries still have plenty of power,” he said. “With that power comes the freedom to change your priorities, and for many people, that has meant questioning their approach to, and the value of, their jobs.”

Source link: MSN —

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