Part-timers are more productive hour-for hour than full-timers. Sick leave and absenteeism are often caused by working long hours and juggling paid employment with domestic responsibilities. Sick workers are less productive than healthy ones. Unscheduled days off are bad for the employer's balance sheet...30-Hour Work Week: The Key to a Healthier Economy
Tired workers, beaten mentally and physically, by the demands of 50, 60, 70 hour work weeks on top of 1-2 hour commutes and the need to be available even outside the office...start making bad decisions. It's not rocket science. Tired, sleepy drivers show the same reflexes as drivers whose blood-alcohol qualifies them as ...drunk. This truth applies to any profession, vocation, avocation.
If the cost of a mishire is 2-3 times their salary, rising higher as their titles rise, what are the costs of a series of small mistakes with customers, done dirt cheap as a favorite band of mine sang.
The results of a not-so-recent study of Boston Consulting Group's high-paid consultants was discussed in the Harvard Business Review article Making Time Off Predictable and Required:
Indeed, we found that when the assumption that everyone needs to be always available was collectively challenged, not only could individuals take time off, but their work actually benefited. Our experiments with time off resulted in more open dialogue among team members, which is valuable in itself. But the improved communication also sparked new processes that enhanced the teams’ ability to work most efficiently and effectively.
I'm thinking BCG knows a thing or two about measuring results.
Ever tried to have open dialogue among friends, family or team members if everyone is exhausted and stressed, sustained with adrenaline, fear and caffeine? Not good.
Open dialogue is how you engage stakeholders in creating sustainable solutions, in finding ways to undo those dirty deeds done dirt cheap to your customers, to your employees. Open dialogue is possible only if you offer a sustainable work schedule, giving everyone time to refresh and renew.
I had the great fortune of working in three successful companies built around a 30-35 hour work week. Each of them competed against larger, richer companies, with ad budgets usually larger than our total revenues. We won, each time. How? Working a 30-35 hour work week was the key. We made good decisions with good open dialogue. We made them sooner and without the too often pre-requisites of bad decisions made with poor data, iffy logic and confused agendas that rise in minds and bodies tired and stressed. Giving an extra hour or two to rejuvenate meant any stresses from a very focused, very engaged workday, were resolved sooner, easier without the accompanying baggage and the need for more meetings to discuss yesterday's problems or unproductive results or bad behavior.
Besides having clearer minds, minds pro-acting and not reacting, minds and emotions seeing opportunities and not threats or fears, we had more minds offering more solutions. And more hands to execute the solutions. And more lives to celebrate our shared result.
As the Inc article points out:
When some people work 40-plus hours and others can't find work at all, that's a recipe for social inequality and conflict.
In large cities, it's easy or easier to ignore this point. The enclaves of the fortunate and unfortunate are large and largely separate. But in a small town, when you see your neighbors as co-workers and colleagues, or not, it's not so easy to avoid this issue. As one of those companies grew to employ nearly 700 people then every day was a celebration of our successes.
One more point and this is key. That company with 700 employees? Working with a 30-hour work week, we needed 7 years to reach that number. When management changed and the philosophy changed from work smarter and happier together to work longer and protect your silo and its leader...only 2 years were needed to unravel that success resulting in hundreds of employees being dismissed.