It has long been a Cold Spring Shops position that something other than the standard professional employment contract (putting in 40 hours is slacking) might enhance productivity.

The bosses are catching on.
After years in which the ease of instant communication via e-mail and smartphones allowed bosses to place greater and greater demands on white-collar workers, some companies are beginning to set limits, recognising that successful employees must be able to escape from work.

"Industry is now responding," said Cary Cooper, a professor of organizational psychology and health at Lancaster University, who says the imperative to be constantly reachable by iPhone or tablet is taking a toll on the work delivered at the office. "Employees are turning up, but they're not delivering anything."
The next step might be to issue placards in the style of World War II posters, to be placed at workstations. "Is this attachment necessary?" "Promiscuous e-mailing costs time and money."

The article notes that market tests, rather than new Fair Labor Standards Acts, might be getting the job done.
"The HR people now talk about regrettable turnover. We cannot afford to lose our best people because we have fewer people," said Mr Cooper, the professor. "We will lose them to companies with better work/life balance, where they don't have to work 19-hour days."


David Karlson said...

I love my job, I love my boss, I'm self-employed!

David Foster said...

One thing that would help is the bring back the concept of the Acting Manager. Before portable devices made everyone reachable everywhere, a manager going on vacation...or even to an out-of-town meeting...would issue a formal Delegation of Authority to one of his subordinates. The usual form of this gave the subordinate authority to make all decisions that the manager would normally make, except that authority to change the organization structure or salary levels was specifically withheld, for obvious reasons.

This gave the subordinate some real if limited experience in managing at the l=next level, in addition to giving the boss some disconnect time.