Team Productivity – What You Need to Know This Week

Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.

1. Should we all be on a four-day work week?

Could a shorter work-week make your team more productive? And are there really benefits to a four-day work week beyond a three-day weekend? It turns out that there may be. John Boitnott argues in Inc. that a shorter work week can lead to a better-rested, more creative, and more productive workforce; happier employees who are better able to balance families; and higher employee retention (after all, it’s going to be a lot harder to leave a company that provides that benefit). Think it sounds like pie in the sky? One study shows that 43% of companies already offer some or all employees the opportunity to work a four-day week.

2. Jerks at work can sap coworkers’ energy and productivity

Having a jerk on your team can damage other team members’ productivity, according to new research from the University of Michigan business professor Gretchen Spreitzer. She found that difficult coworkers leave their team members feeling “depleted, fatigued, and exhausted.” In fact, the more times someone in her study had to interact with these “de-energizers,” the lower that job’s job performance would become. “The myth is that (difficult employees) are annoying but don’t hurt productivity,” Sprietzer says. “The reality is they do.”

3. Zoning out can make you more productive

There’s a reason you think of all those ideas in the shower: Letting your mind wander has been shown to facilitate “creativity, planning, and putting off immediate desires in favor of future rewards,” writes Josh Davis in the Harvard Business Review. Conversely, when you turn to your smartphone, tablet, or computer when you have a spare moment, you block this mind-wandering from happening and as a result block the brain processes that can lead to new ideas. The next time you need a break, writes Davis, don’t pick up an electronic device; instead, walk to the window, close your eyes, go outside, or otherwise give yourself the space to let your mind freely wander – and see if it makes you more effective.

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  • Cary Thomson

    For a 4 day week is that 40 hours over 4 days, or 32 hours over your 4 days? I would love to work that, and on weeks when I have worked 4 day I do notice I’m way more focused and less distracted than days when I work 5.

    • It varies! Some do 32-hour weeks. Others do 10 hours a day for 4 days. There’s also a 9/80 approach, where you work 5 9-hour days the first week and 4 9-hour days the second week, and then get Friday of the second week off.

      • CanadianDot

        We do what’s called Flex Time at my work. We do 35 hour weeks, but we’re able to work 4 days a week, or 5 days one week, 4 the next. Some even do 2-5 day weeks and then a 4 day, and then they only have to work a few extra minutes every day. It’s such a fantastic option!