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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Who Says A 5-Day Work Week Is Sacred?

Will Stronge, a U.K.-based researcher and co-author of Overtime: Why We Need a Shorter Working Week, says the 40-hour workweek in the U.S. was fought for and earned by workers less than a century ago. However, with burnout flames leaping in every industry, there’s a wake-up call.

Times have changed! Technology now allows us to do things faster but instead of releasing us from a prescribed work week - we’ve just crammed it with more “to do”. Here are three ideas to see what can be done to eliminate hours and regain—instead—energy and focus… not to mention a 3-day weekend.

Sweep Away Meaningless Work

Redundancy, email overload, and useless meetings are just some of the energy-draining activities that workers face on a daily basis. If you are in a leadership position, be bold and ask your team, “What are the things you do that seem to be time wasters?” Gather the data. What can be eliminated, altered, or adjusted in a more appropriate fashion? I remember hearing a contractor talk about being required to write a huge report that seemed to have extraneous details. He put a page from a recipe book in the report just to see if anyone even read it. Yes—you are correct. Not one comment about the recipe!

Develop The Skill of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)

Think of this as organizational reframing for intelligent optimism. Developed by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, two professors at Case Western Reserve, AI uses an appreciative approach to look at opportunities versus problems. It builds upon collaborative and strengths-based change.

Imagine the power of bringing together a team to dream, develop and deliver products and processes that are life-enhancing for the organization. Ask “when this works well, what is in place? What will we be doing?”

Elevate The Gift Of Gratitude

Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever said was thank you, that would be enough”. Recall how your personal energy increased when someone noticed the work you did and acknowledged it. Remember, a pat on the back is a short distance from a kick in the pants but a LONG way in generating positive results. Resilience, the ability to grow through challenge or opportunity, is enhanced when one’s efforts are noticed. Simple step. Powerful in results. And cousin to gratitude is kindness. There’s a Persian proverb, “With a sweet tongue of kindness, you can drag an elephant by a hair.” And with kindness, you will notice when your teammates need time out and time away.


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