Adopted during the industrial revolution, the eight-hour workday is an outdated and ineffective approach to work, some might argue. Would a change in workplace policies such as flexible hours be effective and suit all kinds of fields? Gulf News readers discuss.
Happy employees are productive
The eight-hour day is not the main issue, there are many people who work ten, twelve hours a day and do it gladly. However, rigidly mandating an eight-hour day to be completed during the hours of 9am and 5pm, on the organisation’s premises is the issue. There are some jobs that necessitate an eight-hour shift, while other jobs’ successful completion can be measured by the output rather than the input. So, whether it took a person 2 hours or 10 hours should not matter as long as they have met their deliverables by the agreed upon deadline. Expecting people to ‘report to duty’, without regard how efficiently they complete their projects and tasks will only result in the work expanding to fill the available time, also known as Parkinson’s law.
If organisations were clear about their goals, expectations and deliverables, and allowed the employee the flexibility and autonomy to work when, where and how they want, the result would be a happier and more productive organisation.
From Dr Saliha Afridi
Clinical psychologist based in Dubai
Time off is important
Employees should be able to leave after finishing their work
According to me, it is an archaic concept as work was done manually back in the days and now everything is on the tip of our fingers. Just one click away! However, working 40 hrs a week should be made mandatory with a lot of flexibility. If an employee is done with his work before time then they should have the full right to leave work and do what makes them happy in that spare time. Not only they can have more time for themselves or their families but can cover other important tasks. It is better to be productive all day and cover more tasks than to just sit at work for the sake of fixed working hours. This also depends on the field the employees are working in, in fact, in many cases the employees have to do a 12-hour shift, which is understandable once a while but not everyday as the employees are left with very few hours for themselves. This affects the productivity and happiness of the employee. However, flexible hours can be applied with 40 hours being maximum number of hours worked by an employee but if in case the employee is done with the work before time, then they can leave. This way, the productivity increases and employees feel a sense of belonging in the work environment contributing more, as they don’t want to lose a job, which understands their needs at the same time.
From Ms Mariya Shahid
Supply management officer based in Dubai
Depends on the field
Not all work places can apply the flexible hours policy
I feel like an eight-hour workday is a very archaic concept. I think that I can be more productive when I’m not time bound. The organisation I work for has no checking in and out concept and I find that my colleagues and I get to balance our work life and personal life very well because of this system.
We get tasks done at our own convenience and when we are done, we are free to go back to our lives. I strongly believe working smart is better than working hard for long hours. Having said that, not all organisations can adapt to short working hours as certain organisations need people round the clock, for example retail jobs.
If more organisations go for the shorter hours they will see a bump in productivity and the employees mental state during work is going to bring positive results as well.
Having long work hours makes the employees stressed and their motivation level drops along with their efficiency. This in turn, is going to be bad for the company and the employees’ job satisfaction levels as well.
From Mr Abdullah Jalees
Business development executive based in Sharjah
Is the eight-hour shift an archaic concept?
Have your say
Are flexible hours detrimental or beneficial to productivity?