6-hour day & free choice of salary: How good are the new job models really?

Everyone is talking about work-life balance. But still, most of us sit in the office from morning to evening every day. There have long been new models.

We have had an 8-hour working day in Germany since 1918, an average of 41.5 hours a week. No wonder if we just sink exhausted on the couch in the evening. The search for more modern working models has long since begun. Even if only in selected locations. The common worker in Germany rarely feels any of this.

The calculation is as simple as it is obvious: if you treat your employees to something and thus make them happier and more satisfied, you also get something in return. Namely, motivated and more productive workers. Nevertheless, many companies shy away from changing anything about the tried and tested nine-to-five. It's a shame, because the experiment shows that it can work.

Nowadays it is no longer enough to offer a frustrated employee a bonus and he'll work like a Duracell rabbit again. Because the dream of most employees is simply this: More time for yourself, for private life, for the family. And that cannot be bought with money!

Some companies show goodwill and provide their employees with everything at work that brings them a little private life into the office: be it the foosball table, the fitness room, the joint after-work beer or the mobile massage service. The longing for more free time, however, does little to alleviate this.

Nine-to-five is counterproductive

But there is another way. For example, the "Executive Education Program" at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently tested a very simple method of motivating employees. And that by being able to organize their working hours freely. The place of work has also been made more flexible. Employees were advised to work somewhere other than in the office at least two to three days a week. If possible, everyone should be in the office one day a week. Instead of nine-to-five, everyone should just roughly adhere to the usual business hours. The model was tried out for six months and the result was more than satisfactory for everyone involved - including the executive suite.

And that is not an isolated case. Many other test models of this type have shown that employees who have more freedom have a say in their own decisions (about working hours, place of work, vacation, etc.) Contrary to all expectations, do not shamelessly exploit this, but work more happily and significantly more productively.

Anyone who goes to the office in the morning and knows: "I won't get out of here before 6 p.m. anyway " will, without being a sneaky person, work quite unconsciously in such a way that they also work to capacity for these eight hours. Why pull up three trees in the morning and then have all the tasks done by the early afternoon? And when you work at least eight hours a day, you inevitably lead to unfocused and unproductive phases. Also the feeling: 'My boss only sees how long I stay, but not at all WHAT I do in the hours of my work ' is not very motivating.

Real motivation

Quite different when an employee can go home after five hours as soon as he has done his job well. Or if he knows that he can also work from home and thus avoid the commute with traffic jams, stress and time expenditure a few days a week. That he can decide whether he will not start until ten in the morning instead of eight o'clock as a morning grouch.

Anyone who also knows that the boss trusts you and grants you freedom (because he knows that you are not taking advantage of them) no longer feels like a small wheel in the gearbox, but as a co-responsible "co-entrepreneur ". And so he works better in the end.

Unfortunately, many companies still do not dare to use these new working models. It would be much smarter to make sure that employees feel comfortable. This demonstrably reduces absenteeism, sick leave and negative mood in the team. How much time some employees spend alone every day with gossip and ranting... It would be much better to judge an employee based on their performance, i.e. their output and the quality of their work, rather than just the length of their daily stay at work.

Home office, flextime and more

Fortunately, some companies in Germany are also rehearsing the uprising. Microsoft Germany, for example, has abolished the attendance requirement for its employees since last year. Since then, only 20 to 30 percent of employees are in the office every day. And at Siemens, employees with office and administrative activities are allowed to do up to 20 percent of their working hours from home.

The founder of Einhorn Condoms, Waldemar Zeiler, went one step further. With him, the employees were allowed to determine their vacation and salary themselves. And that also paid off in a positive way. At least none of his employees have made use of the freedoms.

Small catch

But the changeover is not always crowned with success: some Swedish companies have tested whether a 6-hour working day should not be the norm. With full wages, mind you. Here, however, the attempt did not necessarily work. In the end, the employees in one care area continued to work eight hours a day, but only four days a week. This led to more relaxed employees, but also to significant additional expenses for the company. And the goal of making employees more motivated and fresher because they only work six hours a day did not materialize either.

Ultimately, there are far more factors that are decisive for a company to function - seen from above and below. In addition to more freedom and self-determination, it also means that you feel valued as an employee, that there is open communication, trust and support. Nevertheless, all these experiments and new job models have one thing in common: Companies want motivated employees who enjoy coming to work. Because they are much more productive and creative than someone who struggles to work in the morning. Let's hope that word gets around. Because the fact is: If you don't see yourself as a small cog in the machine, you don't behave like that either. A simple calculation.