Most Americans see the 40 hour work week as a necessary evil, but is it really necessary?
Americans work everyday yearning for the weekend. Monday morning has become the most dreaded time of the week and Sundays, for many, are solemn days where the reality of the ominous work week cannot be shaken.
This weekly anxiety is most certainly the cause of many of our modern ailments. So the question is, “How do we get to the point where work is an enjoyable facet of our everyday life?” To answer this, let’s examine the benefits of abolishing the 9am to 6pm work day model.
Shorter Work Days:
When workers are forced to put in 8 hours a day regardless of whether or not they have 8 hours of work to do, it causes them to be less productive and stretch their work over the full day instead of finishing it in a timely manner. Honestly, why would someone work productively when they are not rewarded for it? Imagine how much quicker work would get done if people were allowed to leave once their work was finished properly. Employees would make sure that their assignments were completed early and suitably to avoid revisions or anything else that would keep them from leaving. According to Jody Thompson of ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment), “There’s this belief that if you’re at work, you’re doing work — and people are not!” She goes on to say that 80 percent of companies’ lost productivity is from “presenteeism” — what she describes as someone being physically in the office but mentally somewhere else.
Working From Home (Telecommuting):
With the mass availability of economical laptops, cellular devices and smart-phones, it makes sense that people would be able to get just as much work done at home as they would in the office. With remote access, companies can monitor productivity of employees working from home. Ironically, outside of meetings, employees don’t really spend much face time with each other. Most interaction with the person in the next cubicle takes place over email, instant messaging and phone.
2. Fewer fill-ups
If employees were allowed to work from home, they would save endless dollars at the pump. Nationally, drivers report an average round trip commute time of 52 minutes and an average distance of 32 miles. With the average efficiency for all US automobiles on the road today being 19.8 miles per gallon and gas averaging $2.79/gallon, the average person spends $4.51 a day on gas. Working five days a week for one year, that adds up to $1,172.60!
3. Less Traffic
With fewer people commuting, there are fewer cars in front of me braking for NO REASON! Sorry. If you’re from Los Angeles, you understand my frustration.
4. More Family Time
We spend 45 hours a week (including the lunch hour that we’re forced to take) at work. That totals three and a quarter full months each year away from our family. Think about how much of our children’s lives we miss being at work. Most parents don’t see their child’s first steps or hear their first words. Also, childcare costs in the U.S. for a child under the age of 4 ranges from $3,380 – $15,895 annually.
5. Lower Pay & Lower Rent
This is more of a benefit for companies than for employees, but workers would be willing to work for less if they don’t have to spend time in the office – while achieving higher levels of productivity. Companies would also need less space which would translate to cheaper rent and lower utility costs.
Ultimately, there are tons of reasons (more than I have room to list) for “9 to 5” jobs to adopt the ROWE model.
Knowledge is power. Spread the word about the ROWE philosophy!