Are Shorter Work Hours Good for Remote Team Productivity?

Kyle McDermott

As remote work continues to rise, the issue of whether shorter hours can facilitate remote team productivity has become subject to discussion.

On the one hand, a flexible schedule could contribute to productivity, help avoid burnout and increase employee satisfaction. On the other, it may cause minimized collaboration and communication among team members, which can impact productivity negatively.

Employers should carefully experiment with different approaches to identify what is best for their teams.

Time is money in the truest sense. Only in 2021, the debate about working less reached unprecedented heights since approximately 46 million American employees quit their jobs so far.

Nowadays, as time is considered more precious, employees consistently raise questions about the necessary working hours to boost productivity levels yet avoid burning out. With COVID-19, we all experienced substantial changes in work-life balance.

Moreover, the pandemic provoked numerous studies of remote efficiency.

For instance, a lasting survey by Great Place to Work of over 800,000 people demonstrated that distance work during the lockdown increased employee productivity from 5% to 7% on average.

So, where is the truth? Are remote workers more efficient with shorter work hours, or is 40 hours a week a standard to comply with? Let’s take a closer look!

Longer Hours Means Higher Productivity

In the modern workforce landscape, most businesses don’t glorify workaholics since longer hours are unsustainable for business.

Overtime rarely stands for increased productivity. The more time you work on a specific task, the more you will miss deadlines and overthink. Only streamlining the business operations could boost remote team productivity and make it more manageable.

Despite the work ethic, more hours per week only sometimes leads to better results. If the team logs many sick leaves in a row, it could be due to long hours.

As a result, long workdays may lead to an unsatisfied and unproductive team.

Work Less, Do More

According to some information, shorter hours can significantly eliminate burnout and increase employee well-being and overall productivity. There are already thousands of companies that have adopted the shortened workweek approach.

The most significant benefit is the three-day weekend that can enhance full-time team members’ morale and help them find a better work-life balance.

For example, most employers reduce the work hours to 32 hours over four days. Microsoft’s Japanese team managed to raise remote team productivity by 40% by adopting a four-day workweek in 2019.

By integrating a shorter work hours model, the companies can:

  • decrease employees’ stress and burnout;
  • reach a better work-life balance; and
  • remain stable in productivity

Do Remote Employees Work Full Shifts?

As a rule, office workers are highly likely to come to work late and leave earlier than remote workers for various reasons.

For example, people get stuck in traffic; their car gets broken down, they have to go home earlier because of some personal issues, etc. According to Bloom’s study, the remote staff is not only working a complete shift, but they also prefer shorter breaks, take fewer sick leaves, and ask for less time off. Fortunately, working more does not mean you’re more efficient.

What do you think?

Remote Team Productivity: Fiction or Reality?

Forbes highlights that many employers strongly believe the efficient employee is an office employee, which is proximity bias.

Unfortunately, many managers still have an unfair preference for employees who come to the office compared to professionals working remotely. Face-to-face engagement between managers and employees results in more positive impressions due to cognitive biases.

This mental game clarifies our commitment to everything we see more often, whether people or things.

Succeeding in remote operations will require retraining most of the managers in assessing performance and addressing proximity favoritism. Companies should focus on trusting the data over their own reactions.

Also, employers should learn a new approach to production evaluations when working remotely. It makes sense to integrate the SMART assessment model, which clarifies specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals for each week.

Are There Other Ways To Increase Productivity?

Fewer Meetings

Top leading companies eliminate the time devoted to meetings by changing periods from 30 to 15 minutes, as well as experimenting with no-meeting days. Yet, Twitter and Gitlab restrain from engagements and prefer to communicate via messaging tools.

Remote Work Is A New Normality

As the new reality impacts business, employees are more interested in transparency, freedom, and flexibility than ever.

People choose to work when they feel more productive rather than sitting in the office for 8 hours and feeling sleepy most of the day. As several studies state, remote team members work efficiently over 40 hours a week, which is 43% more than a regular office employee.

Work-Life Balance Culture

In order to maintain productivity, it is essential to focus on work-life balance first.

A motivated team working without stress functions better. If remote is not an option for your business, consider flexible work hours.

As a team leader, let your employees choose the most optimal work hours individually as well as avoid negative impacts on their productivity.

This blog was originally contributed to Workplace Fairness.

About the Author: Kyle McDermott is a web developer, blogger, blockchain enthusiast, and business analyst. He loves to write about new technologies, business news, and sports events. Kyle is also a proofreader at Computools.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa est étudiante en troisième année de licence à la faculté de droit de l'université de Syracuse. Elle est diplômée en journalisme de Penn State. Grâce à ses recherches juridiques et à ses écrits pour Workplace Fairness, elle s'efforce de fournir aux gens les informations dont ils ont besoin pour être leur meilleur défenseur.