One year back we reduced our work hours, and here’s what we learned…
“You’re done for the day? It’s only 4.30! Do you work in a school?” It’s funny how every time we reveal our work timings, we are met with shock and surprise. You see, we work from 9.30 to 4.30 with decent breaks in between, and somehow people can’t understand how we manage to get any work done. One year back we might have been confused too.
Something’s not okay
Before a year, our official work timing was from 9.30 to 6.30, but that was just on paper. Office hours often stretched to 8.30 or 9.00 at night, if not even later. Latecomers were the norm, people would stroll in at any time. Our breaks were erratic too. Getting the entire team together for a discussion was like getting nursery kids to coordinate on stage…absolute mayhem! We needed a way to make people complete their work earlier. We wanted to improve the quality of work-life and personal life.
A drastic change
As the work hours kept extending, we also noticed a disturbing trend- people were taking longer and longer to get into the “zone”. What is the zone? Well, that is the state-of-mind wherein we are our most productive, creativity flows and ideas abound. It somehow felt as if we were taking longer to get into this mental frame.
We were sure about one thing, extending the work hours was not the solution we were looking for. We had multiple problems to solve. One crazy idea that we got was drastically cutting down the work time. We had read up on this, and many pieces of research supported this approach. Unfortunately, we could not find any Indian company that had implemented a 6-hour workday, and yet, we decided to take a chance.
And so, it begins…
As we discussed the pros and cons of this time change, we began warming up to the idea. We all knew that these extra hours would mean a world of difference to us. Therefore, we, together, decided to commit to these timings.
One year later
So how has our life changed now? (Imagine a black-and-white workplace transition into colour, Bollywood-style). Here’s how:
HERE COMES THE SUN, LITTLE DARLING
One of the first things we noticed when we started leaving early was that we were actually able to see the evening sun. We are now able to witness nature in daylight. When we used to leave work in the night, we used to be dead tired. But now it feels as if we still have a lot of time in our hands. It is like being back in school- when we have time to play and do homework and for family and for friends and for self and….. It feels natural. As if this is how humans were meant to be.
LESS WORK TIME BUT MORE WORK DONE
Sounds surprising, doesn’t it? But that’s just what happened. Increased productivity was something we had hoped for, but we weren’t sure if it would actually happen.
Maybe it is the fact that we are leaving earlier and thus feeling less tired. Maybe it is the desire to leave earlier. Whatever it is, we are thinking more clearly now, with all the mental space we have. It takes less time to get into the “zone” and create now. We are able to plan better and therefore work better. Yes, smart work instead of hard work, as they say. Our productivity has gone up by several times!
UNITED WE WORK
Remember how we told you we could never get everyone together in the same place, at the same time? Well, all that has changed. We now have what can be best described as a “synchronous work environment”. We come to work together, we take breaks together, and leave together. This works especially well as we also have an open culture here. So when there are discussions, people are around to pitch in, we can consult each other as everybody is around. We can even have impromptu meetings.
LEARNING, EXPERIMENTING, GROWING
As creatives, it is imperative that we come up with new, fresh ideas. For this, we need to continuously learn and experiment. We finally have the time for this after work hours. We are able to learn things that help us professionally and personally. All our pending passion projects are finally seeing the light of day. Artworks, nature pictures, and poems have started cropping up. Some of us have taken to fitness, some sports, some are into music, and some meditate. We are doing things to ignite our creativity, and we are able to reconnect with the reason why we are in this beautiful profession.
WORK-LIFE AND LIFE-LIFE
This point follows naturally from the previous one. We are now able to spend more time with our family and friends. We spend time with children, pets, and nature. Outings are not impossible dreams. We can get our personal work done because we are now free before other offices and shops close. This also means that we don’t need to take permission during our work hours as much. Some of us are able to focus on parallel businesses. We can accompany our parents to checkups, or our partners to movies. We can contribute to the family actively. And as a result, there is so much more peace in our home environment now.
One of the reasons why this new schedule works is that we feel accountable now. We came together as a team and committed to the time change. We all knew that it could make a world of difference to the life we lead. We are loving this change of timing and we want to keep it that way. So we take charge of work, we don’t allow ourselves to slip back to our old ways. We know now that we will have enough time to play after work, and this thought motivates us to give our all during work hours. Of course, the fact that we are not eternally tired helps us a whole lot. We want to be sincere to our profession and now we are able to be because we have the energy for it.
We feel so, so, so happy that we switched to this timing. We wonder why other offices don’t implement it too. We feel this idea has worked wonders and is a total win-win. Are we perfect? Far from it. But we’re hopeful, we are getting there. We need to streamline a bit more. But it’s happening, by and by. We have all this extra time to think about how to improve further too 😉!