Do you, as a CEO or leader of any type for that matter, feel like your employees are taking advantage of you and of their jobs? Well, you may not be wrong in feeling this way. The unfortunate truth is that many employees are actually only working for about 2-3 hours of their 8-hour work day, and the rest of their time is spent socializing, surfing the web, eating, using the bathroom, and just plain old dilly-dallying. Makes you not want to pay them for 8 hours of work, right?
Stephan Aarstol, co-founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, felt the same way. After learning about these discouraging facts, he decided to cut his employees’ workday to just five hours a day instead of eight. By doing this, he was forcing his employees to become more productive, and if they couldn’t do it, they would be fired. Fortunately, his entire team accepted and met the challenged and absolutely loved it. Aarstol states, “Our workers have moved into a world of abundance, not scarcity, because we’ve massively shifted their quality of life by giving them the only scarce thing left… their time.” Soon after adopting the 5-hour workday, Aarstol’s company became one of the fastest growing in the country.
So why did Aarstol’s unorthodox tactics work so well in increasing staff productivity? It all boils down to happiness. Happiness is the #1 tool for improving productivity in the working world, and therefore, leading a happy workplace creates an organisation with more tangible success in the long run. Here are some of the ways in which overall happiness helped to improve Aarstol’s company:
- With increased time off, the quality of his employees’ relationships and health were able to improve.
- His employees were able to pursue passions beyond their career.
- His employees became more loyal to the company, partly because they were able to see work for what it really is: the occupation that finances their life.
- Staff no longer felt that they were working their lives away, but that they were working to facilitate their passions.
- His employees were able to focus on other important areas of living.
Rather than implementing common financial incentives within the workplace, sometimes a big-picture view can be instructive. You, as a CEO, manager or workplace leader, must think of all available options in order to create a happy workplace for your employees, and to help them achieve a healthy work/life balance. This creative, outside-the-box thinking is often likely to increase staff productivity in the long run.