Does Giving Days Off or Restricting Work Hours Increase Productivity?

3 min read
Dec 26, 2016

Less days or restricted hours?

As a manager, its your responsibility to do everything within your power to help your team be as productive as it can possibly be. To that end, common sense might tell you that you should encourage your workers to put in as many hours as they can each week. The more time spent working, the more work completed — right?

It turns out it’s not that easy. For starters, research shows that while we may make incremental productivity gains as we approach 50 hours each week, once we surpass that figure, our output takes a significant turn for the worse, as noted by CNBC.

Beyond that, research actually suggests that workers are more productive when they work fewer hours. Of course, your employees won’t be able to cram their entire workloads into one four-hour shift, but maybe there’s not much of a difference between working a 35-hour week and working a 40-hour week — particularly when you consider Parkinson’s law, which suggests that work expands or contracts to fill in the time allotted to get it done.

To that end, in order to boost employee morale and well-being while keeping productivity high, you may want to give your employees the occasional Friday off or forbid them from working more than eight hours in a single day. Keep in mind that a recent Ernst & Young survey revealed that one-third of employees believe it’s harder than ever before to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Not only does extra time off help employees achieve work-life balance, it also helps workers get more done.

By giving your employees some Fridays off (or even all of them) and putting policies in place that ensure no workers will be routinely logging 16-hour days, your organization will benefit from:

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01. Increased employee retention

Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that routinely gave its employees four-day workweeks?

By restricting the hours your staffers log each week, you’re taking a proactive step and telling your employees that you care about their health and well-being. That action can go a long way toward convincing employees to stick around, thereby boosting your retention In addition to ensuring your customers will continue getting top-notch service, your company will also save money since it won’t have to invest in recruitment efforts as frequently.


02. Amplified interest from top talent

The most talented candidates are interested in working for companies that offer the best perks. Giving Fridays off or instituting a “Summer Hours” policy where your workers come in for something like five or six hours a few times a week during the slower, hotter parts of the year will help generate interest from the candidates you want working for you most.

maintaining work-life balance 

03. Strengthened team bonds

Not keen on giving your employees a Friday off to do whatever they please? That’s understandable. Use the time for team-building activities instead. Have a field trip to a museum. Go out to an awesome restaurant for lunch. Rent out a paint bar for an afternoon. In addition to serving as a nice break from the office, team-building activities will help your employees grow closer to each other — which reinforces company culture and builds camaraderie.

While it might not seem that giving employees more time off can improve productivity, the studies say otherwise. Give it a shot and see what happens. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.



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