Progressive methods and ninja powers at Think Productive

Progressive methods and ninja powers are key to maximising the use of our time in the workplace. The productivity gurus at Think Productive have successfully managed to unlock the secret of how to create the space to be efficient, without compromising freedom. 

Since 2009, Think Productive has been transforming the way many large companies think about productivity through practical workshops that demonstrate how people can get more done with less stress. 

As part of our look at work-time as less-time and the effects of this on productivity, Four Day Week spoke to Elena Kerrigan, MD at Think Productive, about the impacts of flexible working and a reduced working week. 

How do your workshops support companies who employ flexible or four day working weeks?

Our workshops are all about making space for what matters. Managing our attention, our energy, our commitments, distractions, emails, meetings and how we delegate and collaborate most effectively – to make space for the high impact work.

We encourage people to look at their working day in terms of their attention levels, to be aware of when their energy and focus are at their peak or when they’re at their lowest.  

Armed with that knowledge, they can go on to make better decisions about how to structure their day, instead of losing the day to firefighting and the constant cycle of email checking and endless meetings.  They can create the right conditions to protect their proactive times and make space for the focus work. We open them up to strategies like going offline for an hour, working away from their usual desk or questioning whether they’re really needed at a meeting.

I would argue that having this self-awareness and the strategies in your toolkit are absolutely essential to anyone thinking of introducing flexible or four day working weeks. 

The four day week is like having the deadline of trying to wrap up your work before you go on holiday. You know that every hour counts and that you can’t do it all. So it makes you ruthless, in a good way. You know you need to focus on the high impact work, on what matters.

Does Think Productive also employ a flexible working scheme for its employees?

We’ve had a four day working week for our team since 2011.  It’s absolutely transformed our productivity and wellbeing.  We are also very agile in how we work. We empower our people with the freedom and responsibility to choose how, where and when they work (within the boundaries and needs of the business and team of course).

What impact have you seen from working a shorter working week, does it seem to work in terms of productivity?

The wellbeing impact is obvious.  The productivity impact is transformational. The shorter week makes us even more focused on making space for what matters, on the high impact work.  

It gives us permission to ask ourselves smart questions like, “Am I really needed at this meeting” or “How can I streamline this process to make it easier for myself or someone covering me?”. 

And the longer weekend means we come back refreshed, energised, more open to ideas and opportunities and making decisions from a place of perspective and clarity, rather than from a place of tiredness and stress.  

And of course the business also benefits from having a super engaged team, who are proud to be part of a healthier, more empowering workplace.

Do you see any negative long-term effects of shorter working weeks on company or employee productivity?

There are short term considerations, like needing to make sure communications within the team are good. If you have a mixed team of four day weekers and traditional five day weekers, management need to keep a close eye on overtime creeping in, through guilt.  

And it’s critical that managers lead by example. They shouldn’t be working late or sending emails when they’re meant to be off.  The team need to trust that the 4 day week is the right thing to do, by the company and by their careers.

To find out more about the Think Productive team visit their website, www.thinkproductive.com or follow them on Twitter here.