Future of Work

A prescription for employers in 2023

Employee satisfaction levels have generally been on the decline in recent years. Factors such as job insecurity, lack of opportunities for advancement, and inadequate compensation have been cited as contributing to this trend. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on employee satisfaction, with many workers reporting increased stress and burnout due to remote work and other related issues.

With this in mind, employers have engaged in searching for solutions to make the workplace a more productive and enjoyable environment. There is no reason for an office in 2023 to resemble the drab one depicted in the movie “Office Space”.

One of the ideas that have often been raised – a four-hour workweek – has gained traction in recent years, with proponents arguing that it would lead to increased productivity, better work-life balance, and reduced stress. However, there are also potential downsides to this concept.

The advantages of a four-day workweek could mean the following:

  • Improved work-life balance: Employees would have more time to spend with family, pursue hobbies, and take care of personal responsibilities. This could lead to improved mental and physical health.
  • Reduced stress: With less time spent at work, employees may experience lower levels of stress and burnout.
  •  Increased productivity. With less time spent in the office, employees may be more focused and motivated to complete tasks efficiently. This could lead to higher quality work and increased output.
  • Cost savings: Companies may see cost savings in the form of reduced office space and utilities, and lower salary expenses.

The disadvantages of a four-day workweek could mean:

  • Limited job opportunities: With a shorter workweek, there may be fewer job opportunities available, making it difficult for some people to find employment.
  • Lack of flexibility: A 4-hour workweek may not be suitable for all industries or job types, and may not provide enough time for employees to complete certain tasks.
  • Potential loss of income: With fewer hours worked, employees may earn less money, which could be a significant disadvantage for some individuals.
  • Reduced benefits: Companies may be less likely to offer benefits such as health insurance or retirement savings plans to employees working only 4 hours per week.

Overall, a four-hour workweek has its pros and cons and it depends on the industry, job type and specific needs of the organization and employees. It is important for companies to consider these factors before implementing such a drastic change in their work schedule.

As a boss, one of the most important responsibilities is to keep your employees motivated and engaged in their work. When employees are motivated, they are more productive, more likely to stay with the company, and more likely to produce high-quality work. Here are a few ways that bosses can motivate their employees:

  1. Provide clear goals and expectations: When employees understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to be motivated to achieve those goals. It is important for bosses to clearly communicate goals and expectations to their employees and to provide regular feedback on progress.
  2. Recognize and reward good work: Employees who feel that their work is valued and appreciated are more likely to be motivated. Bosses can recognize and reward good work through verbal praise, bonuses, or other incentives.
  3. Offer opportunities for growth and development: Employees who feel that they are learning and growing in their roles are

According to a survey conducted by Gallup in 2020, about 34% of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs, while 51% were not engaged and 15% were actively disengaged. The survey also found that companies with high levels of employee engagement had significantly lower turnover and higher productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability compared to those with low levels of engagement. Another survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2019 found that the most important factors that contribute to employee satisfaction are trust in senior leaders, communication and resources, and opportunities for growth. The same survey also found that the lowest-rated factors that contribute to employee satisfaction are pay and benefits, workload, and job security.

There are several ways that bosses can create a positive corporate culture in the office:

  1. Communicate effectively: Regularly communicate with employees, keep them informed about company developments, and listen to their feedback.
  2. Show appreciation: Recognize and reward employees for their hard work and contributions.
  3. Create opportunities for growth: Provide employees with opportunities for learning and development, both in terms of their roles and in terms of their careers.
  4. Encourage teamwork: Encourage collaboration and teamwork among employees, and create opportunities for employees to get to know each other better.
  5. Lead by example: Lead by example and set a positive tone for the office by being professional, respectful, and approachable.
  6. Be open to feedback: Encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback, and be open to considering their suggestions.
  7. Promote work-life balance: Encourage employees to take time off when needed and to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  8. Create a comfortable and welcoming environment: Make sure the office is clean, well-lit, and has a pleasant atmosphere.
  9. Show Empathy: Show understanding, care and support to your team, understand their personal and professional struggles.
  10. Lead with transparency: Be open and honest with employees about the company’s goals, plans and challenges, and keep them informed of progress.

There is some evidence to suggest that hybrid working, which combines working from home with working in the office, can result in improved job performance. Studies have found that employees who are able to work from home tend to be more productive and have higher job satisfaction. However, the effects of hybrid working on job performance can vary depending on the individual and the specific job tasks. Factors such as job autonomy, communication with colleagues, and access to necessary resources can also play a role in determining the impact of hybrid working on job performance.

Some of the cons of allowing employees to work from home include:

  1. Isolation: Working from home can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from colleagues and company culture.
  2. Lack of structure: Without the structure of an office environment, it can be harder for employees to maintain a consistent schedule and stay focused on their work.
  3. Difficulty collaborating: Remote work can make it more challenging for employees to collaborate and share ideas with one another.
  4. Overwork: Without clear boundaries between work and home, employees may find themselves working longer hours or having difficulty disconnecting from their work.
  5. Technical difficulties: Remote work can be hindered by technical issues such as internet connectivity or equipment problems.
  6. Communication barrier: virtual communication can lead to misinterpretation, lack of context and lack of immediacy in comparison to face-to-face communication.
  7. Lack of supervision: Managers may find it more challenging to monitor the progress of remote employees and provide guidance and feedback.
  8. Distractions: Home-based employees are more likely to be interrupted by family members, housework, or other distractions

Employers must therefore weigh the pros and cons of remote work and find a balance that works for both employees and the organization. Implementing clear policies and guidelines, providing necessary resources and tools, and fostering open communication can help mitigate some of these challenges.

Communication is key and the smooth operation and functionality of any business depends on it. The research shows that employees are 2.8 times likelier to be engaged, for instance, when they regularly talk to their manager about their goals and successes. There are several ways that bosses can improve communication between employees, including:

  1. Encourage open communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns.
  2. Establish clear communication channels: Make sure everyone knows how to contact each other and what channels are appropriate for different types of communication.
  3. Encourage face-to-face communication: In-person communication is often more effective than virtual communication.
  4. Use technology to facilitate communication: Tools like instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management software can help keep everyone on the same page.
  5. Be responsive: Promptly reply to emails, messages, and requests to show that you value your employees’ time and input.
  6. Lead by example: Be an active listener, ask questions and encourage others to do the same
  7. Promote team building activities: Encourage team members to socialize and get to know each other better.
  8. Regular meetings: schedule regular meetings to discuss progress, issues, and align on goals.

With the above in mind, employers can and should explore new ways to motivate employees and make the workplace environment engaging, interactive, positive, and designed to help employees want to come in every day. The statistics show employee satisfaction has a direct affect on company performance. That alone should  be incentive enough.

Have you read?
Is Marc Benioff of Salesforce Right That You Can’t Integrate Junior Staff Without an Office Culture by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky.
The SUCCESS Side of Mergers and Acquisitions: Integrating YOU into Them … 25 Lessons Only Life Can Teach-You by Dr. Jeffrey Magee.
How to Profit from Genuine Customer Input – What to Never Say & Always Ask by Joseph A. Michelli.
Reimagining Luxury Post Covid: What Will It Look Like by Veidehi Gite.

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Daniel Elliot
Daniel Elliot is a business analyst and has extensive experience working with large multinational companies as well as start-ups and NGOs. He spent the last decade focused on data visualisation, network analytics, and machine learning before moving into management consultancy in both the public and private sectors.