Team Productivity

How We Save 1,936 Hours a Year and Keep Workplace Chaos at Bay

Nathan Gilmore
November 7, 2019
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What happened to the days of leaving the office at 5:00 pm and not thinking about work again until 9:00 am the next morning? 

Phones have put us in a state of constant connection that keeps us working and accessible around the clock. It’s added the pressure to always be on, and yet we never really feel like the work is done.

What’s interesting, however, is that people aren’t actually blaming smartphones for the chaos of never being able to disconnect from work.

According to a Center for Creative Leadership report: “They blame their companies—specifically, poor process, people (and time) management that is robbing them of their equilibrium and ability to recharge.”

Ending workplace chaos is worth it

There are so many benefits to ending the chaos at work—from higher employee retention and increased productivity to happier team members and families.

That’s why we’ve been intentional about building work-life balance into the fabric of our company. It’s also why we’re passionate about helping other teams experience the same benefits.

Work-life balance doesn’t come with a measuring stick. So how do you know you’ve put a dent in the chaos? One way we measure it is in the time we’re able to give back to our team members.

Consider these stats: 

  • The average one-way commute for a US worker is 26.1 minutes, according to the US Census Bureau.
  • The Center for Creative Leadership found that 60% of executives, managers, and professionals who use smartphones for work are connected to work 13.5+ hours a day 5 days a week and spend about 5 hours on weekends scanning emails. That comes to a total of about 72 hours a week.

We ran the math, and on average, a TeamGantt team member will work about 1,936 fewer hours per year than the average professional who commutes to an office each day and feels obligated to be constantly connected to work.

Here’s how that savings breaks down:

  • No commute = 212 hours saved (thanks to remote work)
  • No evening or weekend work = 1,536 hours saved (40- vs. 72-hour week)
  • Half-day Fridays = 188 hours saved (an extra 4 hours every Friday!)

That adds up to about 80 extra days a year our team members get to rest and refresh so they can bring their best to work. 

And it’s all because of culture and process.

There are lots of ways to reduce workplace chaos. You might not be able to switch to a 100% remote workforce with half-day Fridays overnight. But you can take small steps to give your team better work-life balance today. 

Let’s take a look at 2 policy changes that have proven successful for our team.

2 simple guidelines that keep workplace chaos at bay

Establishing policies for after-hours communication gives your team permission to draw a clear line in the sand between work and home. It’s okay if the rules are broken on occasion. Think of these more as guidelines that shape your team culture over time.

1. No internal messages after 5:00 pm

Everyone needs the opportunity to recharge in the evenings. That’s why we encourage people not to send Slack messages after 5:00 pm. 

No one wants to see a Slack alert at 9 o’clock at night. You inevitably feel compelled to read it and reply from the couch or dinner table. Even if you’re determined not to respond to Slack after hours, it still occupies space in your brain. Instead of relaxing with your family or working out at the gym, you’re distracted by work. 

2. No need to respond to external emails after 5:00 pm

Does your team think it’s okay to let an after-hours client email wait until the next morning? Do others respond and cc: the team? Does work guilt make people think, Since others are working at night, I guess I should too

If this policy is explicitly stated and actively encouraged, you can eliminate the guilt. Let team members know it’s okay to disconnect and that they’re doing the right thing by not responding at night.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, we don’t want TeamGantt users to go from midday Friday to Monday morning without a response from one of us. So we set up a special rotating weekend schedule where one person from our Customer Success team spends a few hours going through the support queue. This schedule comes with extra pay and defined hours so nobody feels like they need to check their phones all weekend. We find it’s a nice balance to service the customer well and provide boundaries for the team.

These simple tweaks have the power to drive serious impact on the quality of downtime for your team. We realize they may not be an option for everyone and every company. But I would encourage you to think on it and see how you might make it work for you and your team.

Good project planning ends chaos too

Time is a precious commodity. When you manage it well, your team can produce awesome work and still have space for downtime. 

That’s where the power of good project planning comes in. 

According to the Center for Creative Leadership report, 87% of respondents said their time was wasted as a result of poor project planning. We can help with that!

TeamGantt makes it easy to eliminate confusion, streamline communication, balance workloads, and beat project deadlines. Even better, you’ll save time and energy on project setup so you can focus on doing the work that matters most.

Of course, don’t just take our word for it. Give TeamGantt a free try to see for yourself!

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