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Friday, October 6, 2017

Lean Quote: Work Less, and You'll Tend to Work Better

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." — C. Northcote Parkinson

Is it possible that too much time at your desk is actually making you less engaged with your work?  It has become a well-documented fact that at a certain point, continuing to work begins to hurt our productivity. We are not, as it turns out, endlessly productive. Our brains need rest to operate at their highest capacity—and our minds reward us when we take time off to do so.

One such article in The Atlantic cites this phenomenon, telling us that "working long hours often leads to productivity-killing distractions. Such is an instance of the saying known as Parkinson’s law, which states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Work less, and you’ll tend to work better."

So is that it? Should we just tell teammates and employees to cut it off at forty hours and just expect a better performance? Probably not. Employee engagement goes well beyond just the amount of time that somebody spends at the office. Instead, it's about the quality of the hours that are spent here: how much someone believes in their work, and just as importantly, how much someone believes in their manager.

Time and time again, we've seen engagement boosted by well thought-out employee benefits. Going beyond the traditional "great snacks and beanbag chairs" fare, we've tracked down some of the most popular benefits that go back to that true focus on quality hours—not just long hours. When employees feel that their employer is investing in their life outside of the nine-to-five grind, it gives them the chance to truly take ownership of their work.

Whatever the benefits you may choose to dole out within your organization, one thing is clear: when you invest in your employees, it gives them the chance to really engage with their work and gives them the space to truly have a balanced life. And that's when everyone wins.

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