by Kara Fiechter
Growing up as a farmer’s daughter, my dad always prided himself at getting up at 5:00am and working until dinner. I grew up with the same mentality that working for longer hours proved that you were an awesome employee. Thankfully, 20 years later, I’ve learned that hours don’t equate to progress and increased time spent doing the same mundane tasks almost never means more efficiency.
When a person gets hired for a new position in the United States, the job hours for a normal company are 9:00am to 5:00pm or some variation that includes putting in eight hours of work Monday through Friday. This means that no matter how quickly a person works, there will never be a direct reward for them working more efficiently in one day if they are a salaried employee. The average 40-hour workweek has never proven to push people to become innovative or faster at their jobs because then they know they’ll have to sit at their desks the rest of the day until the 40 hours are over.
As the new Generation X becomes more qualified for top positions in management. I foresee a trend that will separate the fast growing and innovative companies from the ones that will eventually die out because a lack of adaptation. In order for most people to grow and become innovative, there normally needs to be a perceived incentive whether that is income or more time off. If you as an entrepreneur want to push your employees to think outside of the box and become better at their jobs, then you’ll have to give them an incentive to do so. Understandably, raises aren’t always easy to give out, so I recommend giving people the incentive to go home early if all of their tasks are done. Putting in “time” at the office does not mean that the employee is actually productively working. According to Forbes Magazine, 40-hour workweeks lead to burnouts, less individual efficiency, less creative stimulation, and more distractions. See the link here.
As a new business owner, there is no doubt that you want to hire the very best and innovative thinkers in the industry, but once you hire them, why would you squash their creativity by measuring their success by the hours that they put in. The hours rarely directly correlate to increased sales or income, so why keep doing it?
My challenge to you as a business owner is to try something new when it comes to working hours. Let your employees have room to be creative and innovative by allowing them to think outside the workplace. There is no doubt that if you actually have excellent employees, they won’t need a 40-hour workweek to prove their worth.