How To Transition To A 4-Day Workweek Feat. Rob KrecakJun 14, 2022
Is the 4-day workweek possible without sacrificing productivity and profitability? I sat down with Rob Krecak, the founder of Humans First, on The Hustle Less Profit More Podcast to talk about technology mindfulness and what it really takes to successfully transition to a 4-day workweek.
Mickey: How can we reduce the number of hours we're working without reducing productivity or profitability?
Rob Krecak: As a consultant for Humans First, I help companies transition from a five-day workweek to a four-day workweek with no loss in productivity or profitability. And what I mean by that is it's four, eight-hour days–We're not talking for 10-hour days and just shifting schedules around.
So everybody at the company, even the management team and the CEO, can have a full day off every week.
The Power Of Flow
Think about the last time you were at your job, and you just had this period where you're like, “Oh my God, everything is going amazingly well, I'm just crushing it, everything is on point, I'm getting so much stuff done, everything just feels like it's flowing.” This is a state of mind called flow; It's a psychological term. Getting into this state of flow is highly beneficial from a work standpoint because research shows that employees are up to 500% more productive when they are in flow.
So what that means is if you can get into flow for two hours a day, you can accomplish more in those two hours than in an entire day; that's insane. Right. Everyone wants to do that. Well, here's yeah. It's like, all right, let's do this. Here's the problem, unfortunately.
So what the research also shows is that when you are in flow, once interrupted, you need 23 minutes to get back into flow on average.
What’s Happening In Today’s World
The statistics are scary. The average person checks their email and slack inboxes once every six minutes. And the average person gets a smartphone notification once every 15 minutes they're awake.
If you're doing the math, you're checking your email once every six minutes, you're just checking your smartphone every 15 minutes, and it takes 23 minutes to get back into the flow. What that means is that the average person is never, ever, ever in flow. You're never doing high-quality work, and you're never being as productive as you could ever be.
How To Reduce Work-Time And Increase Productivity
Build in some time in your calendar where you can do this; I call it GSD time, which stands for Get Shit Done time. Block off time on your calendar, and then structure your work environment where there are no interruptions, no smartphone, email, slack, or other notifications or distractions. Just work.
This sounds devastatingly simple, and it is, but you would not believe how many people I've worked with who find this insanely hard. And it isn't all their fault because, in many companies, the CEO (or upper management) is on slack and expects you to respond within five minutes.
That's inherently telling all the employees that they constantly need to be monitoring slack because if you don't respond within five minutes, you will be punished for not responding. They are forced to monitor slack every six minutes, which is ridiculously damaging workplace productivity.
The other thing this does, which people don't realize, is it increases stress dramatically. When you're task switching or switching between applications or your smartphone or your computer, the human brain can only single task. It can't truly multitask, and switching between things means that there's this residual imprint in your brain of what you were just doing that doesn't immediately disappear. It's hard to explain from a neurological standpoint, but there's this residual electrical trace in your brain that says, “Hey, I want to be focusing on this thing that I just switched from.”
When your tasks switch constantly, your brain has all these different circuits activated, and you can't possibly keep track of all that. It’s very stressful.
The Big Picture
You're doing all these things; you can't focus, are distracted, and multitask. Every time, for instance, you check your email or get a notification, it activates your sympathetic nervous system. This fight or flight system keeps you alive if there is a threat.
If a sabre tooth tiger attacked me, my fight or flight system amps me up to fight the sabre-toothed tiger or run away. Your sympathetic nervous system takes 30 minutes or more to downregulate and recover fully. If you're checking your email every six minutes and taking 30 minutes to recover. You never get back to a baseline level, and your nervous system never has a chance to recover.
This significantly increases anxiety, stress, and depression in our entire world. I think how and how much we’re using technology is the root cause of the dramatically higher levels of depression, anxiety, and many other psychological problems that we're having. It is happening to everyone every day, and you don't even realize it.
The Good News
The good news is that you can counteract this by doing a few things. As business owners, here's what you can do.
Create and distribute written standards of communication.
This is very simple, and you literally could do it in one day, and it would completely change how your entire company works. The biggest problem with people checking slack and email every six minutes is that there are no written standards of communication for most companies. They might be verbally communicated, but they're not in a written document that people have agreed to or have signed off on. It could be something as simple as this, “Our standard of communication is that we answer all client emails and slack messages within 24 business hours. Our internal communication standard is that we will answer all internal emails and slack messages within four hours. And if something is very urgent and needs attention in under four hours, we will agree to slack call each other so that we can get ahold of the person immediately.” That's just a straightforward example.
If that information is put in a written document and disseminated to all the employees, it permits them not to check their email once every six minutes and instead allows them to check it once or twice a day. Because that document doesn't exist in many companies, employees are left to guess when and how they have to communicate and do whatever they think won't get them in trouble, which is usually constantly monitored.
Having this written standard of communication completely changes how everyone does their job and allows them to block off time on their calendar to focus. It's straightforward.
Check out our video interview:
We can transition to a 4-day workweek without losing productivity or profitability with technology mindfulness and dedicated focus time. Are you going to give these strategies a try? Let me know how it goes! Send me an email at [email protected] and let me know about your experience.
Be sure to snag Rob Krecak's exclusive resource:
Get an exclusive 30-min consultation with Rob on implementing technology mindfulness into your life and business! Head over to https://www.humansfirst.us/ and click Get In Touch, fill out the contact form and mention that you read about Humans First here, on the Hey Mickey Anderson Blog, to access your free consultation and learn how you can transition your company to a 4-day workweek.
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