Time out increases productivity - rethinking the working day

As a company, it’s important for us to get the best out of our employees. We would like them to perform at their optimum level for the hours they are at work. But how can we support our employees to work most effectively? Are we really still following an outdated model which corresponds with the time at a desk to the time spent being productive?

We can all admit to the experience of feeling unfocused at some point during our working week. Our mind wanders to a problem we have at home, a holiday we would like to book or just considering what to eat tonight. Concentration, although a skill that can be improved, cannot be maintained at a consistent level for the full 8 hour working day.

HR professionals have long been discussing the rising problem and cost of presenteeism - ‘the low productivity of people who are physically present at work but who, for a variety of reasons, are not contributing all that they could.’ A government report published in 2012 estimated the cost of presenteeism to UK employers to be £15.1 billion a year, almost double the figure of absenteeism.

How can we combat this lack of productivity? When asking this question, it’s interesting to consider the findings of a study by Desk Time, a productivity app that tracks employees' computer use. It found that the highest performing 10 percent of workers “worked for 52 minutes and then took a break for 17 minutes.”

Could we actually be helping our employees as well as our businesses by recognising the need for regular breaks during the working day? Is it time to rethink our view of the 8 hour working day and how we expect our employees to use it?

Anna Abrahams, Director Inspirit

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