The Six Hour Workday - Inscripta

Dictation and transcription activities are essential in the healthcare industry — to the point where human wellbeing becomes a factor. Whether by using audio playback equipment to produce transcribed reports, or typing patient notes, traditional methods of recording and communicating important information have become tedious, inefficient, and cumbersome.

Inscripta, founded in 2016, has been making advances in the world of medical transcription. They have managed to make the process three to four times more efficient than the traditional manual transcription still used by the public healthcare sector here in Finland today. The company has done this by developing a machine learning based dictation application, and as a result, the company’s own word transcribers no longer decode dictations and write text from scratch. That work is now done by artificial intelligence with automatic efficiency, and the human element (i.e. the transcribers) only have to check the text and fix machine mistakes, making the process all that more efficient.

And that’s not the only thing they are making more efficient. From the very day they were founded, till now, they have promoted a six hour work day for their medical transcribers.

We sat down with Simo Sorsakivi, CEO and Co-Founder of Inscripta, to discuss his implementation of a six hour work day; how they got started with the process, how has it gone so far, and how they have bettered the work-life balance and wellbeing of their employees; something that aligns with our own values when it comes to bettering the wellbeing of our portfolio companies.

How they got started.

The idea came from the very beginning; an intuitive thought, starting from the very conception of Inscripta. Simo and the founding team were already gathering metrics from the get-go on how their transcribers were working, and more importantly, how they could work better. By asking questions like, “are they working better when fixed to a certain time frame?” or, “are they working better when they were given more freedom?”; Simo and the team started to create incentives to promote 6 hours of focused, efficient work.

The work that the transcribers employed by Inscripta do comes in the form of important knowledge work; something that can be very intensive. Even though Inscripta’s speech recognition technology is accurate in 94% of the transcription it produces, the work is intensive due to the fact that any mistake in doctor-patient note transcription may have serious consequences — so focus is absolutely necessary. Inscripta then came to the conclusions that longer days did not necessarily lead to more focused work.

“My own belief was that eight hours of solid transcription work at the end of the day could not be done at the same level as, for example, at the beginning of the day… When the workday got stretched out, the performance showed a drop. It went on to show that all the work that could have been done in six hours usually got stretched out… So this gave us the chance to create a working model…” 

Implementing a working model that would incentivise this very focus and also give the transcribers their own agency to structure their workday was something that Simo was very keen to promote. To do this, they would first have to make sure that the environment they were providing for the transcribers would be one that promoted structure and initiative.

In a study conducted by the Draugiem Group they used a computer application to track employees’ work habits. Specifically, the application measured how much time people spent on various tasks and compared this to their productivity levels. The results found that it wasn’t the length of the workday that mattered, it was how people structured their day. In particular, people who were religious about taking short breaks were far more productive than those who worked longer hours. And this finding is something that also rings true to Inscripta’s model.

“We wanted to give them the chance to structure the day however they wanted. They want to take an hour-long coffee break? Sure. They want to take a six hour break in the middle of the day? That is fine by me, so long as the work gets done…” 

The transcribers in Inscripta have all the freedom in terms of how to use and structure their days. And so far, the results have been fruitful.

How has it been so far?

The results have been nothing but positive. Since founding Inscripta in 2016, and after receiving Icebreakers initial investment in 2017, not a single transcriber has left Inscripta due to dissatisfaction with the working culture. One person decided to return to Inscripta after attempting to pursue another career path! Their amount of sick leaves and absences is also very, very low. The Inscripta team has also been in close contact with Heltti, the occupational healthcare service that Icebreaker has decided to partner with for our wellbeing initiative.

“Wellbeing and health are something that need to be tracked over a long period of time. Only time will tell how much of an impact this initiative (launched by Icebreaker) has had an effect on us. But right now I can say that we are going into it with a positive attitude.”

Inscripta does not claim to have the absolute truth when it comes to how people should be working. The founders are still working your average founder lifestyle; a lifestyle with no clear on and off time. Simo made it a point to say that we shouldn’t put Inscripta on a pedestal when it comes to prime examples of wellbeing in the workplace. What works for them, might not work for others. But one thing is for sure — transcribers at Inscripta are happier than ever.

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