Six-hour workdays could boost productivity in Canada

Plus, findings on millennials' work ethic, the anatomy of an office space and the impacts of heroic stories from the top

Credit: Unsplash

A weekly roundup of news and views on office culture, workplace trends, the daily grind and more

An interesting experiment has been underway in recent years in Sweden—among both private and public companies—to see how workers respond to six-hour workdays. The result so far: a boost to productivity (somewhat surprisingly) and also worker satisfaction (not so surprisingly). Still, as writer Augusta Dwyer reports, Canadian companies have been slow to embrace the so-called “Scandinavian model.” The underlying reason is cultural inertia—a symptom of North America’s deeply embedded logic that working more hours will help one get ahead. (Globe and Mail)

Millennials are the favourite whipping boys (and girls) of managers everywhere, especially the omnipresent boomer manager. But you know what, gramps? They’re working just as hard as you—or at least that’s what a recent study-of-studies indicates. The recently released meta study, led by social scientist Keith Zabel of Wayne State University in Detroit, found no generational differences in 77 studies on the work ethics of generations (Boomer, Gen X, Millennial). Said Zabel: “Generational differences in the Protestant work ethic do not exist.” (Ottawa Citizen)

When open floor plans were introduced, it reigned in a new age of workplace collaboration. But is it suitable for every company? According to Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Overflow, programmers prefer their own space because it’s a solitary activity. The criticism of office spaces like Facebook’s are consistent with a study conducted by Game Developer magazine in 2013, which found that it takes 10 to 15 minutes for a programmer to resume coding after an interruption. (Quartz)

It would seems like heroic CEO stories would have an impact on employee values, but a small study published in the Academy of Management Journal by Sean Martin of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, states that stories of leaders’ commitment, perseverance, and strength have no impact on the level of an employee’s commitment to the organization’s values. In fact, when newcomers hear stories about leaders acting in values-upholding ways, it leads to uphold a very high behavioural standard that is difficult to achieve. (Fast Company)