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Interesting stuff. I can see how this could affect jobs where the vast majority, if not all, of the work is done when a person is at the office/work location.

But when you factor in the “always connected” piece of modern day professional work, it would require a cultural shift to how work outside of the office is viewed, in addition to the lessening of hours spent in the office.

A senior consultant I worked with once shared that she told her husband one of the great benefits of consulting was that it allowed her flexibility in her schedule. Her husband responded “yeah, you have the flexibility to work whatever 12 hours of the day you choose.” I’ve always laughed at that, but too true in many cases.

But like you point out, even if a major shift may seem unlikely in the near-term, we can certainly still learn some lessons that can be applied in our companies, teams, or even just personally.

I recently made the shift to not have outlook messages pop up on my screen when they come in. I know it's a little thing and others probably do it, but it was actually a bit hard for me at first. That said, I have certainly seen the benefit of not being distracted by every little thing that comes in.

You mean I shouldn't read my Compensation Cafe emails first thing in the morning? I do get distracted sometimes....

If exempt people actually tracked their time, as they may do for charging hours to projects, they would see exactly where their time goes. And could easily see room for improvement to make better use of time.

In the HR worlds I have lived in, most staff are busy enough for 8 hours and would have to delay more projects and requests for information if they worked fewer hours. We operate lean as it is. That being said, there is plenty of work we could stop, if the regulations and legal requirements we are encumbered with would be reversed.

One tip I have found entertaining as well as in line with what Derek wrote. It's called "Eat that Frog!" by Brian Tracy, which speaks to doing the most important task first in order to be energized the rest of the day. It is inspired by an alleged quote of Mark Twain's but I just read there is no evidence of that quote and may actually have originated in France. Regardless, the message is clear, do your hardest or most unpleasant task first and stop procrastinating. So much for eating my frog first this morning!


Of course this is also influenced by your own personal best time of day to work. Rather than simply cutting a work day to 6 hours, I would also advocate for flex time to allow employees to work when they do their best work, wherever possible.

If you are not a morning person, I suggest you do not get a job at a bakery. Your best work has to be done in the wee hours.

While noting that people generally do best what they most enjoy doing, the old advice to tackle your toughest job first is always a good idea. If it has to be done eventually, you might as well get it out of the way, per "first begun, first finished." Why waste time & energy fretting? Just do it and put it behind you.

"Presenteeism" is a long-standing issue that only got worse with the creation of the FLSA: it inspired attitudes where hours spent at the workplace are considered productivity value measures. Expansion of required OT to more currently exempt workers will bring great challenges to efforts to control work hours. The future is more uncertain than ever.

Auf Deutsch, "Frisch gewagt ist halb gewonnen!" as my father always said to us when complaining about school work. "Well begun is half done" I am sure every culture has the same advice and those who don't take it!

Of course it is easier to measure productivity in some roles than in others. Widget creation has specific tasks and the # finished at the end of the day is measurable production. Creative jobs or management roles that don't necessarily result in a product every day are much harder to measure. Lots of time is spent not working by those who are at work too. So the clock should not be the measure.

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