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Overcoming the cost of Thursday winding downs

New study in the UK finds British workers now switch off for the weekend at 2.29pm

Gulf News

According to a new study in the UK, British workers now switch off for the weekend at 2.29 pm! The research found that most of us wind down long before going home time, with 59 per cent admitting they take the last day of the week much easier.

Many admit to ignoring calls and messages in order to go home early. The British Airways study of 2,000 workers found that 61 per cent wind down earlier on the last day because they claim to have worked over their contracted hours during the week and insist their boss still gets ‘value for money’.

So, if there is really a ‘Friday feeling’ in the UK, then I guess the same goes for those who experience a ‘Thursday feeling’ in the UAE.

If we translate this ‘winding down’ feeling throughout industry and across all cultures, it is interesting to work out as to how much working time is lost. If we calculate that each employee is unproductive for three hours on the last day of every week — on a 50 weeks per year, this is approximately 150 hours per year, per worker.

Just think of how much more productivity would be gained if we could modify that mindset.

For those readers who love their jobs, the chances are that the ‘day before the weekend’ is the same as any other because they enjoy what they do. But for those who are working primarily for the money, those feelings may not be shared.

So, how can we change the culture? Why not deliberately schedule meetings for Thursday afternoon instead of Sunday morning, thereby ensuring a working commitment right up until the end of the week?

An interesting thought and one that I think comes down to the example set by senior managers. If managers and team leaders go early, switch-off half way through the day or are just not accessible, then the rest of the workforce may well follow their example.

However, if managers are seen to be working to the last moment — and that this is their expectation also of their team — then they will be leading by example.

Productivity is a matter of professionalism. I may not have the definitive solution to boosting productivity at the end of the week, but here are some ideas of things to do to ensure that you still have mental energy right up to the weekend.

Recap/wash-up

Use the last day of the week to look at what you have achieved during the previous four or five days and what is going to be programmed next week. Sending your boss a progress report of your activity over the past week is a great way to reinforce trust in your ability and can also advance your future career prospects.

You might also consider sending progress reports to your clients who will be most impressed with your commitment when the rest of the workforce have rushed off home.

Plan

Use the last day of this week to get ahead of next week’s tasks. Clear up your desk. Tidy your mind in readiness for the next project. Create a list of those tasks you need to do on the first day of next week, which should ensure that you ‘hit the deck running’ with maximum efficiency as soon as you arrive at your desk.

Strategise

Make a list of the best and worst things that happened during the week. Think about how you can build upon the best things and minimise or eliminate the worst.

Ask yourself, are there items that you can do more efficiently in the future or maybe you are aware of a personal skills-gap that needs filling? Can you perhaps improve upon your preparation time for future meetings?

Look around the office

If many have already left, then you be the one person who is around to give support to those colleagues and managers still working.

Remember: The day before the weekend should be a time for planning and assessment for the month ahead because those activities can have a powerful, long-term impact upon your future.

How do you spend the last day of every week? Do you have pearls of wisdom that you would like to share. I would love to know.

Key points

* 150 hours per year, per worker is wasted through winding down on the last working day.

* Don’t stop work at lunch-time, Thursday.

* If you’re not in, then you could be OUT!

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