When there’s so much to get done and not enough time to do it, the answer to being more efficient may not be putting in more hours – it’s leaving right on time.
That sounds counterintuitive, but there is data to back up the notion. An article from The Guardian noted that evidence exists to suggest the number of hours worked does not equate to how much people are getting done. Indeed, French workers only work 1,500 hours per year (compared to 1,669 in the U.K.) but statistics show their employees perform better than those in Britain, and better than several other developed nations. And a study from The Economist showed the most productive workers in developed nations were those who put in less time at the office.
There is a campaign in the U.K. called National Go Home On Time Day, which was held on September 23 this year. On this day, workers are encouraged to stick to their allotted work hours. It seems like a strange concept but it may be one we should consider picking up.
I’ve definitely been guilty of working past my allotted time, trying to get just a few more minutes in on that project with the ever-approaching deadline. But I’m never energized while I do it. However, come the next morning after a break and some sleep, I’m raring to go and breeze through my tasks. Caffeine certainly helps.
Maybe the best process we can implement to increase productivity is to tell people to go home when it’s time. If you have guilty employees who are consistently putting in extra time, send them home for a week and see if it helps revitalize their work.