Shorter work weeks & nicer bosses

As we all know, the last few years have affected the way most office workers do their jobs. The biggest change is businesses accepting that many employees accomplish more and are generally happier when they have the option to work from home at least a few days a week. 

But more businesses making in-office time optional isn’t the only shift some see on the horizon.  

In this month’s Learning Nugget, find out why there are experts who think companies will start asking employees to work less each week without cutting their salary and valuing a very different sort of manager than in years‘ past. 

The four-day work week?

As inflation rises, so are worker demands for more pay. However, both inflation and the higher interest rates central banks are instituting to fight it mean many businesses can’t afford mass pay raises for their employees. 

One way some experts think companies could satisfy employees while taking virtually no hit to their bottom lines is shortening the work week by one day.  

Various studies have shown that companies suffer no loss in productivity or profitability from employees having an extra day off each week. In just September of this year, almost 86% of almost 70 UK firms who participated in a six-month trial where workers got 100% pay for 80% of the hours said they would continue the practice after the trial ends. The majority of businesses in the trial also maintained or even increased productivity. 

If this trial indicates a four-day work week’s long-term effects on businesses, it means companies could give people a lot more time off in lieu of a raise and keep their profit margins the same as they are now. 

 

Managing morale > managing workflows 

The labor market is currently very much in favor of workers, with lots of companies competing over a limited talent pool. To make matters even trickier for employers, the rise of work-from-home means many unhappy workers don’t have to worry about the stress of moving as they think about whether to change jobs. 

These factors make it important for businesses to make sure everyone from the top down is helping create a pleasant work culture. Forward-thinking employers will want managers who can run productive departments where workers reach their potentials because they feel valued and supported rather than cultivating a cutthroat atmosphere where productivity is more important than people’s well-being. Similarly, employees who cause petty arguments and bring down general morale may face sharper reprimands than in the past. 

This is why experts predict successful companies will soon have more people in managerial positions who foster meaningful communication within their departments and connect and empathize with those they manage. What’s more, they’ll need managers who do this effectively via various forms of communication and are comfortable managing teams who don’t all show up at the office every work day.

While that could sound great for employees, it also means increased responsibility for them. Rather than sitting quietly at a desk working off a checklist a manager assigns, workers are more likely to be given an end goal and asked to use their own creativity and ingenuity to reach it.  

Some will feel empowered by this, but others could feel a bit lost if they aren’t told exactly what to do. No matter what category they fall in, team members will need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate their thoughts, needs, and accomplishments to make sure they receive the support and recognition they deserve from management. 

 

 

Up your communication game  

If you’d like to make sure your communication skills are ready for this new sort of work atmosphere, TIP TOP has a Communication Seminar coming up in March 2023. Though the seminar will be focused specifically on English communication, you’ll learn tactics and skills that will transfer to any language. Contact info@tip-top-english.de for more information.

Also, since we just all set our clocks back an hour, we thought anyone who missed it might like to take a look at a Learning Nugget we did almost two years ago about the history of Daylight Saving Time.  

 

 

Vocabulary

 

do the job – Arbeit machen

accomplish – erreichen

at least – zumindest

employee – Angestellter

cut salary – Gehalt kürzen

value – werten

worker demand – Anspruch der Arbeiter

interest rate – Zinssatz

afford – leisten

raise – Erhöhung

take no hit to the bottom line – unterm Strich nicht weniger haben

suffer no loss – keinen Verlust leiden

day off – frei haben

participate in – teilnehmen an

trial – Probelauf

maintain – erhalten

time off in lieu – Zeit anstelle von

in favour of – zugunsten von

compete – im Wettbewerb stehen

pleasant – angenehm

forward – thinking- vorwärts denken

cutthroat atmosphere – eiskalte Atmosphäre

similarly – gleichermaßen

petty arguments – kleinkarierte Argumente

sharper reprimands – scharfe Verweise

foster – pflegen

ingenuity – Genialität

deserve recognition – Anerkennung verdienen

up your communication game – Kommunikation auf ein neues Level bringen

 

Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.