Weekend Thinking: Getting Work Done

The weekend. Time to relax and recharge. Maybe ponder some of the bigger ideas in business and life.

This week’s theme is getting work done.

Performance Enhancing Drugs

Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDS) are big problem in sports, and some famous athletes (like Yankees’ serial liar A-Rod) have an asterisk beside their names in the record books. But what happens when PEDS come to the office?

As Harvard Business Review writes:

This scenario may not be hypothetical for long. The unauthorized use of prescription drugs such as the ADHD medications Adderall and Ritalin and the narcolepsy drug Modafinil is now common among American university students. They use these drugs not to escape work and avoid responsibility but to be able to work more and better.

Will workplace managers rush to set policies to prevent their employees from being sharper and more productive in the office? What about the uneven playing field that creates? Will workers not using PEDS be considered slackers compared to their more medicated colleagues?

Shorter Workdays = More Productivity?

A new study in Sweden has prompted fresh discussion over the value of a six hour workday, compared the standard 8 hour (or more) workday seen in Canada and the United States.

Bloomberg reports that the study compared nurses working a six hour day in one nursing home to those working eight hours in another.

A year’s worth of data from the project, which compares staff at Svartedalens with a control group at a similar facility, showed that 68 nurses who worked six hour days took half as much sick time as those in the control group. And they were 2.8 times less likely to take any time off in a two-week period, said Bengt Lorentzon, a researcher on the project.  

The nurses working fewer hours also reported that they were 20 per cent happier – perhaps no big surprise. But they also reported having more energy at work, allowing them to do 64 per cent more activities with elderly residents, one way researchers measured productivity.

So could a shorter workday work in Canada? Will a study like this help address the not-unreasonable concern that a shorter weekday inevitably leads to less productivity?

Work Doesn’t Happen At Work

“You don’t have work days anymore, you have work moments. It’s like the front door of the office is like a Cuisinart and your day is shredded to bits.”

This TED talk takes on why the modern office environment, particularly the M&Ms (mangers and meetings), makes productive work hard to do in the office.

[ted id=1014]