Today’s post is brought to you by a client project and the news. Two different places where my ears pricked at the floating of the same idea.
First the client project. I wrote a blog post about some of the most common project management mistakes. One of these errors was scheduling people in at 100% capacity or eight hours a day. Why is this a mistake? Because expecting someone to spend their whole day on the project is unrealistic – it just ain’t going to happen.
It’s been a while since I left the corporate world, but I still work in client’s offices and shared office spaces. Toilet breaks, coffee making, water cooler chats and meetings. These are all unavoidable (and human AF!) parts of the day. The social interactions are also one of the best parts about workplaces – friendships and alliances and professional relationships flourish! They also, unavoidably, take up time. So it’s time to get real.
The advice in the blog post I wrote was to be pragmatic and schedule people in for about 80% capacity. That’s about 6.4 hours, which segues neatly to my next point.
To the news now. I did hear this recently brought up, but I’m aware it’s been across the news for a few months now. Basically, the story I heard was about areas in Sweden trialling six-hour work days. The results were pretty impressive with happier staff, less sick days and higher productivity. Epic!
So why aren’t we working six hours a day?
From my own experience, the work you have will expand to take up the time you allot for it. If you’re given eight hours to complete a task, you’ll naturally take that time up to finish it, when in reality you probably could have it completed within 4-6 hours or maybe less.
I find that even working for myself; I will still stick to the ‘office hours’ schedule I left behind years ago. And if I’m not available in those hours I’ll get the ‘guilts’. Ridiculous, I know.
It’s like an office job hangover I can’t kick. Symptoms also include wasting time on social media, procrastinating in front of the computer and stretching out tasks to fill ‘office hours’.
In my reality, I can work whatever hours I choose (for the most part at least). If I finish something, I can leave my desk. I don’t have to clock on or off. But sometimes I still act as if I do. But it is something I’m working on overcoming.
I’d love to hear from you:
- Do you have an office job hangover too?
- What do you think about the concept of a six-hour workday?
- Do your tasks expand to fill the time you allot?