Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Should We Switch To A 5-Hour Work Day? This Local CEO Thinks So

Should We Switch To A 5-Hour Work Day? This Local CEO Thinks So
Should We Switch To A 5-Hour Work Day? This Local CEO Thinks So GUEST: Stephan Aarstol, CEO, Tower Paddle Boards

What do you do toward end of a long workday? Do you check your Twitter feed, shop online, take along separate or maybe look busy? You are not alone. After all, you have done your work. Your brain is fried why can you not just go home. My next guest says you are right, you should be able to eke as the eight hour or more workday is outdated and counterproductive. So as a business owner, he tried something radically different and it worked. Joining me is Stephan Aarstol. That eight hour workday came about because of the industrial revolution. What was the thinking at that time, why eight hours? Prior to Henry Ford inventing workday people were working 10 or 16 hours a day. Mostly they were factory workers and production workers. They were basically being overworked. Prior to the assembly line and everything coming along they were leaning on brooms there was not a lot of productivity. Sue Este assembly line, humans had to keep up with that and it became unsustainable to the point that one half of 4% of US population and early 1900s was being killed or maimed on the job. It became a health crisis. Henry Ford, there was massive turnover in the factories, he needed to address this. He shortened the workday to eight hours, he doubled wages, he ushered in the modern day consumer sort of society. What pivot point are we have now for you think we should rethink eight hours and turned to five? What happened in Henry Ford's day, that was the Industrial Revolution. Productivity of factory workers. The same thing has happened over the last four years in the US. You have worker productivity of 80%, that is all workers blue-collar and white-collar. If you look at white-collar you could say it is probably 300%. We can do in two hours what used to take us 8 to 10 hours before. Now our brains are being overworked. Before it was bodies with the Industrial Revolution, now it is knowledge and information age is overworking the mind and more societal ills going on. What made you come up with the idea to try this out at the company? As an entrepreneur I worked compressed days. You get in and get out. When no one is watching the clock over your head. All of my entrepreneurial buddies are doing this. Look at these people who are thriving in the economy, why can you not imply -- applied to a company. We started the year have to go with this experiment and it works great. How is it working great? The idea is even a time constraint on your productivity. It was his you to find creative solutions. Website that goes with the book, five hour workday.com. Blue List 30 or 40 productivity tools we identified in the company that allow us to work at a faster clip than the standard worker is not pressed for time. Is like finals week every day. That forces you to work after. What about in the real world with real companies? [ Laughter ] Two years ago we were named the fastest growing company in San Diego last year we were number 239 on the 500 list of fastest growing companies in the country we are Internet company that owns a brand this will work for a lot of companies. It works particularly well for our brand. We are telling people to go out and live an extraordinary life. And our mentality is the point of life is not to work. Work is just something that affords you luxurious life to do what you want to do. It can work for anything. It is not just Internet companies, we have a retail store and we went to five hours. With customer service, five hours we have a full warehouse production facility, five hours there. Of our production, to be honest, is done overseas. But everything can be compressed there's software and tools to make you more productive today got you to point out that you don't think this will work for every company at every profession. There truly are some jobs that you are paid to Beta for certain amount of time. Firemen, policemen, store clerks. But for a surprising number of jobs, and we are proving it with our company, it does work. In the company out there will be thinking about moving to five hour workday, and this is an important point, no one actually gets a cut in salary because of this. The workday now becomes five hours. What sort of steps do you think they need to take to prepare? This was scary for me to do because it's my company and I have all of these people working at 50 and 60 hours a week. I am giving their time back in an exchange and what them to work faster I rolled it out as a test. I said it was June 1 last year and I said you guys will come in tomorrow and everyone full walkout 1 PM. Will go to a five hour workday and I want you to do as much as he used to do in the eight or 10 hour days. If you can't do it you will be fired. There is real pressure on people, I truly believe in every company there are some people who work at three times the speed of everyone else. We want to attract those people. This is recruitment and retention strategy for the company. We are not a lazy company saying we have made it. By doing test we rolled it back in the fall. My theory was in the fall we go back to regular hours, everyone can do two days in one day because we will have identified the tools and there with the incentive to do so. They are getting off at 1 PM, you become very grateful for having this job. You think this is wonderful. What I do now, work goes from being the center of your life to a thing you do in the morning. It is extraordinary. It works well for us. We did not go back there but for anyone who wanted to try, give your place summer hours and then go back to it. You will unlock productivity tools that are there and have it around for a decade but people don't use. Companies like ours are using them. I have been speaking with Stephan Aarstol the author of, the five hour workday : live differently, unlock productivity and find happiness. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me on.

The age of the nine-to-five is over at one San Diego company.

Tower Paddle Boards in Mira Mesa has moved to a five-hour work day, and it appears to be making a big impact inside and outside the office.

Stephan Aarstol, the company's founder and CEO, said revenues and productivity climbed and his employees are healthier and happier.

Aarstol, a winner of the reality TV show "Shark Tank," has written a book about it: "The Five Hour Work Day: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity and Find Happiness."

"The idea here is you're putting a time constraint on your productivity," Aarstol told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. "It forces you to find creative solutions. ... It's kind of like finals week every day, and that forces you to work faster."

Would it work for companies that aren't in the beach lifestyle business?

Aarstol said that although the five-hour work day particularly suits Tower Paddle Boards, it can work for other workplaces as well.

"Two years ago, we were named the fastest-growing company in San Diego," he said. "Last year, we were No. 239 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies in the nation. We're a startup; we're an internet marketing company that just happens to own a surf brand."