After much preparation, Century Office are really excited to be starting the first stage of their twelve week well-being trial based upon Compressed Working Hours. The trial is in conjunction with the University of Essex’ School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences department.
What’s their reasoning for doing so?
The concept for the trial was born through Century Office's involvement in several well-being events, initiatives and through their desire to offer their team more flexibility in their working day in the hope that this will enable them to have a better work-life balance and subsequently enjoy more free time with their friends and family.
Having a growing, young team at Century Office means they are keen to meet the needs of these millennials and the up and coming generation z, who are seeking more flexibility and who prioritise job satisfaction above high paid salaries. Century Office invest heavily in the development of their individual team members and therefore keeping them on board is key. Attracting the right candidates when they have an opening is also difficult. They believe that if they can offer compressed working hours to our team and still grow and prosper, they will be in an excellent position to facilitate this.
Through careful monitoring during the 12 week period, Century Office will examine whether reducing the number of working hours in a week maintains or increases individual productivity in the workplace. They hope that the results will show that having a team who are more active and fulfilled in their personal lives, and less stressed as a result, increases productivity both individually and collectively as a company.
How will the compressed working hours trial work?
The revised hours have been agreed between each department as there are varying commitments to be considered across the company. For example, Century Office's operations/installation team generally need to work the same hours to accommodate deliveries each day. Whereas their sales, marketing and administration teams can work staggered hours (which results in extended opening hours for their showroom).
For the first six weeks of the trial they will monitor the general mood, activity levels and well-being of the team whilst working their standard 8-hour day. Recordings of sleep patterns, activity levels and heart rates will be taken periodically from Fitbits provided by Century Office. Team members will be asked to complete very short questionnaires on a weekly basis to report their sense of wellbeing, job satisfaction and perceived stress levels.
During the second six weeks, the working day/week will be reduced by approx. 20% while measuring the same parameters. Most of the team will shorten their working day, except for two who will instead reduce their working days from five to four. It was interesting how the preferences varied across the team; some preferred to work a full morning and shorter afternoon as they feel more work-ready first thing in the day, while others chose to take more time at home in the mornings and start work later in the day. Then, of course, there were a couple who preferred to take an entire day off each week and work fuller days but only for four days out of the five. Century Office have managed to accommodate everyone in this instance, but of course this may not be possible in a larger business than ours. However, for Century Office, it will mean that their showroom is manned for longer each day and still ensures that each team is working together for most of their week.
Throughout the entire trial, various KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will be recorded to measure the production levels in each department (operations, sales, marketing and admin). They will measure indicators such as the number of deliveries they have completed, number of sales enquiries, orders taken, and other criteria to enable them to establish whether each department is coping with its existing work levels with the new, shortened working day. All the results will then be analysed and compared by the University of Essex and written up in a report which we will publish in the summer of this year.
Century Office’s hopes
Century Office to see their team become more focussed during their shorter working day, whilst having the benefit of enjoying more quality time with their friends and families and being more active outside of work.
Shorter working days will mean that there is time outside of the weekend for appointments like hairdressers, dentists, non-urgent doctors, etc, thus freeing up Saturdays and Sundays for more leisure and social time. Choosing their hours (to a degree) to fit in with our own lifestyles and body-clocks will hopefully increase their ability for higher levels of concentration and focus whilst at work.
The company hope that each individual will feel more refreshed and less stressed, meaning that as a team they are as, if not more, productive.
Century Office will update their blog on a weekly basis throughout the trial, letting you know how individual team members are finding it, the results they are seeing, things they are noticing. You can follow the blog on their website at https://century-office.co.uk/News
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