In 2017, a German entrepreneur Lasse Rheingans acquired a small consulting firm in which he launched an unusual experiment with a five-hour work day.
Rheingans Digital Enabler’s work schedule has been reduced to five hours. For the second year in a row, employees are starting work at 8 a.m., and at 13 p.m. they can go home . The condition for such a “light” mode is quite simple – no smartphones, social networks and no-talk.
We tell what results Lasse Reingans achieved with his unusual (and so desired by many people) experiment “less work with the same pay.”
Minimum rest, more work
According to the businessman, several important points were introduced at once to fulfill the weekly plan and ensure the desired result for the company.
Firstly, concentration and silence. Previously, the office could play a music playlist from Spotify. Today it is prohibited.
Secondly, the duration of the workshops was reduced from an hour to fifteen minutes. The German notes that this time is enough to set a clear plan for the day.
Thirdly, you can check email only twice a day. Thus, the company tried to avoid unnecessary distractions in the form of notifications or pop-up messages.
“Our effective workflow only works if everyone follows the rules.”
This approach motivates you to work harder.
Lasse Reingans is also trying to adhere to a regime established by himself, although he notes that after one o’clock in the afternoon he continues to devote time to working moments. He is always motivated and inspired.
Initially, I called the project an experiment, because I was afraid that the idea would not work. Planning, in case of failure, roll back to the usual mode. But we have a lot of orders, we are profitable.
In addition, the journalists who learned about the idea caused such a media wave that I had the feeling that we had created something that seemed incredibly exciting to employees. We are continuing the experiment.
Team building is held every Friday.
Lasse Reingans was worried that team culture and atmosphere could suffer if you work as briefly and efficiently as possible.
The team is developing not only through collaboration, but also through personal communication. We quickly realized that we needed additional team competitions and meetings for the model to work correctly.
Every Friday we go to a culinary club or to other joint events, where we communicate on topics unrelated to work.
The new schedule aims to increase employee efficiency
Lasse Reingans believes that meeting deadlines is not an end in itself.
Look at any office. People are wasting time. They have stupid social networks, they turn on the TV, they talk with relatives on the phone. Remove all distractions and your office work will change.
With my experiment, I wanted to show that good and effective work is possible even if not everyone is sitting still until all 40 hours have passed.
In periods of high workload, it happens that Rheingans Digital Enabler employees still spend 6-7-8 hours in the office . Sometimes employees have to linger, because the company’s customers work eight hours.
The essence of the experiment is that a person works purposefully and with high concentration, knowing that in the afternoon he will have enough time to relax, family or hobby.
What is the result
Lasse Reingans noted that for the first time such an experiment with a work schedule was applied by Stefan Aarstol. After that, Aarstola’s kayak company in the United States increased its efficiency by 40% .
For Lasse, the goal is not to calculate “whether the company has become more successful.” It is much more important that employees do the same thing for eight hours. The company simply cannot afford to slip and lag behind competitors working 12 hours a day.
In the end, employees have more time for balance, self-knowledge and relaxation.
The German entrepreneur believes that the leaders of other companies should follow suit . According to him, in many ways this will be possible thanks to the replacement of human manual labor by machine .
We must ask ourselves: where can we save time? It is about a change in working culture. Even in other professions, where you first think: well, it definitely won’t work here.
The new schedule can lead to a rethinking of professions in many areas. Work may be welcome. For example, shorter working hours and clear, focused activities will make the nurse’s work more attractive.
Even for site development companies, a short schedule can be effective. Employees will be happier, which will lead to the creation of a better work product, as Lasse explained.
The increase in the huge number of people with burnout shows that change is becoming vital.
For example, according to statistics, in Germany in 2004, due to burnout syndrome, 1,000 cashiers had less than 10 days of sick leave. In 2016, this figure was already 75 days.
The idea of a German entrepreneur is clear and understandable and strongly resembles the well-known quote of the founder of the largest financial group today, John Pirpont Morgan: an annual job is easy to do in 9 months, but in 12 is almost impossible .
Lasse Reingans clearly drew similar conclusions, proposing a similar experiment to his subordinates. And judging by the results, they are both damn right.