Harvard Business Review has a interesting article on how to improve productivity of consulting teams: make the consultants take more time off.
Professional services firms typically have a 24/7 on-call culture. But one management consulting company is getting better results by experimenting with downtime—even in this economy.
Some interesting titbits:
- More than 50% of the consultants surveyed (at BCG) work more than 65 hours a week
- All the consultants in the “forced time off” experiment wanted their next case/engagement to one with a similar staffing / time off structure
- Consultants in the “experiment” teams reported greater job satisfaction, better long term career track and better work/life balance.
The one “challenge” that I can see is that this method calls for all the consultants to be on engagement at 80% of the time and for the team to be bolstered by additional resources. The payoff, however suggests that partners everywhere should take a closer look if they want to avoid burn-out and not loose their key resources.