Despite massive technological innovation, productivity in developed countries has been steadily falling. It has been falling in developing countries, too. There are many and varied reasons for this, but not much is happening to treat the issue (or the risk that it worsens).
Coming up with a risk treatment often requires you to think in an unconventional way – the best solutions are often not the most obvious ones; they require an element of re-thinking, in this case, re-thinking how people work.
For decades, the 5-day working week has been the norm. However, a New Zealand entrepreneur, Andrew Barnes, recently cut his employees’ working week to 4 days with no loss of pay. He found that use of social media and other distractions disappeared, and employee engagement soared by 40%. He got the idea from German auto-workers and from Microsoft Japan where reduction to a 4-day week boosted sales by 40%.
And as a by-product, this change can take cars off the road, improve employee mental health, and close the gender opportunity gap through increased flexibility.
Data Sources:The Economist magazine, Fortune magazine