Have you ever thought about the hours you spend in that unnecessary meeting or those emails that have taken far too long to write? Wasted time? Inefficient and unproductive?
We all feel that sense of doom at the end of the day when all those tasks are still unticked on the to do list. But what if you worked only 6 hours per day? And it was mandatory? 6 hours and then you have to go home. It’s an interesting thought... would that naturally make you more productive or less?
An experiment in Sweden has found that employees who switched from an 8 hour day to a 6 hour day were brimming with enthusiasm, had a greater commitment to their work and were healthier people. Many businesses found that employee turnover reduced, employee creativity was enhanced and productivity increased which meant that hiring extra staff to support the reduced hours of current employees simply wasn't necessary. It seems that if you only work 6 hours you simply don't waste time!
But what would be the effect on the economy if the 6 hour working day were introduced across the business world? Would it simply bring resentment from those working an 8 hour day? It surely would put a much greater financial strain on the employer? Would employees really be more productive in 6 hours or would 6 hours at work in fact become 4 productive hours? Or do we have to start to embrace a better work life balance, and try to reduce sick leave and early retirement with the aim of improving the welfare state?
An interesting experiment with a number of questions which no doubt will be answered in time. For the rest of us, it’s intriguing food for thought in our spare time...if we have any!
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“We thought doing a shorter workweek would mean we’d have to hire more, but it hasn’t resulted in that because everyone works more efficiently,” said Maria Brath, who founded an Internet search optimization start-up in Stockholm three years ago based on a six-hour day. The company, which has 20 employees, has doubled its revenue and profit each year.