OpenWork is a new non-profit working with organizations to help them rethink the traditional in-office 9-5 grind and find innovate ways to create a new culture of trust, maintain or boost productivity—and also promote work-life balance, too. As part of this mission, OpenWork spotlights organizations that are embracing work flexibility to demonstrate how truly beneficial it is for both employers and employees.
One such company that OpenWork recently showcased is Tower Paddle Boards. Watch their story below:
Tower Paddle Boards CEO Stephan Aarstol had been working a compressed and focused workday for over 10 years, with a mentality of getting work done and getting out of the office. In 2015, he decided to get his employees on board—literally—and have them shift to a reduced, five-hour workday, too. He conducted a three-month test to see if his staff of 10 could handle the transition, and they did so well that in his words, “they never looked back.”
That’s not to say that it was all smooth sailing. At first, employees were skeptical as to how they could cram eight hours of work into just five. General Manager Allison Dundovich admits that it took a while to get used to, but after a few days of working what is essentially a compressed workweek, employees realized that they learned to manage their productivity and were just as effective—if not more so—in the shorter time period. “People will stretch out their day for eight hours so they look busy,” says Dundovich. “For those five hours, their heads are down and they work away.”
It’s important to note that when Aarstol decided to switch to a five-hour workday, salaries and benefits were not affected. But productivity was (Tower reports increased revenue of 42 percent), and that’s perhaps one of the reasons why Inc. Magazine named Tower one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America in 2015.
Although you might think it could be stressful to have to get eight hours of work done in just five, consider this. Putting time constraints on the workday forces workers to look at their jobs differently, to see where they can be more productive. At Tower, everyone in the company actively analyzes what they’re doing right—and what they’re doing wrong—in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
One of the biggest factors to eat away at productivity is eating itself. The lunch hour consumes more time than it should, and returns workers back to the office in a food coma, which is counterproductive. Tower honors an 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM schedule. There is no lunch, because it helps to save time.
Tower employees claim that they are happier than they ever have been. Since everyone is judged on productivity, there’s no impressing the boss by showing up early and staying late. Stress levels are down, and the quality of life has gone up significantly, with more time for healthy living and quality time with family and friends.
Sure, Tower is helping its workers by offering them work flexibility that allows them to have better work-life balance. But Aarstol has his eye on the prize. In the video, he claims that by being a flex-friendly company, “It puts us in this advantageous position that we can steal workers from your company now.”
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