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Creativity can't be clocked

Creativity can’t be clocked
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Creativity can’t be clocked

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As long as the length of the workday remains the same, the four-day workweek seems to bear sweet fruits

As long as the length of the workday remains the same, the four-day workweek seems to bear sweet fruits. India Inc has joined the global chatter on the four-day workweek. A recent announcement about the much-talked-about new labour code suggests that organisations may be allowed to offer the option to employees. However, the ministry keeps the 48-hour cap on the workweek "sacrosanct". Much before the pandemic, remote work and flexible work policies became a part of our lives, companies around the world had begun litmus testing a three-day weekend for employees.

Zahara Kanchwalla, co-founder & COO, Rite Knowledge Lab lists down a few things to consider if you're giving the four-day workweek a thought for your workforce:

More hours in exchange for extra off

One of the primary arguments in favour of the four-day workweek is that the extra time off leads to better productivity at work. However, look closely and you find that it's only when a four-day workweek is accompanied by reduced weekly work hours that the concept bears fruit.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based company, the first to grab headlines for testing the four-day workweek in 2018, asked its employees to work 30 hours a week and paid them for 37.5 hours. Similarly, Spain experimented with the four-day workweek in response to the pandemic, asking workers to clock in 32 hours a week. Finland's Prime Minister, Sanna Marin has floated the ambitious idea of 6-hour 4-day work weeks.

Longer hours means less focus

The brain is known to concentrate for 2-hour stretches with 15 to 30-minute intervals in between. Employee focus is usually at its peak at the beginning of the shift with concentration levels gradually dipping as the hours pass. By the 8th or 9th hour of the workday, workers are fatigued and unlikely to be at their productive-best for the additional hours they now have to clock in. It also raises the likelihood of mistakes, errors and accidents.

Creativity can't be clocked

In a digital agency where a majority of the roles are of a creative nature, twelve-hour workdays are impractical. Sure, pulling a caffeine-fuelled all-nighter a day before an important pitch may get those creative juices flowing but that's just the pressure of the deadline in action on a creative brain.

Writing, designing, creative visualising and ideating aren't functions that can be dictated to work for 12-hour stretches. Besides, one can only focus on the same project for so long before mental fatigue and the infamous creative block sets in.

To be able to look at the same problem afresh, taking breaks at regular intervals throughout the day is a crucial part of the thinking and ideating process. It cannot be crammed into four days and switched off for the other three.

A long break is priceless

Having said that, a long break away from work is indeed priceless. Employees have long grumbled about the two-day weekend passing by in a blink. On the flip side, a four-day workweek could prove as motivation for the long weekend. Knowing that the workweek is now shorter may encourage employees to complete tasks faster. The promise of three full days to oneself may inspire employees to focus fully while at work.

Besides, a three-day weekend allows one to plan longer holidays out of the city. It may also open up opportunities for employees to engage in long-forgotten hobbies, sign for an upskilling program or take up gigs on the side!

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