Sunday, August 25, 2019

Is A Shorter Workday Better? Only Time Will Tell.

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Is A Shorter Workday Better? Only Time Will Tell.

If you or a coworker is a “clock watcher” when it comes to that five o’clock rush out the door, you may rejoice in not having to watch the clock for as long during the workday. There’s an old joke where a customer orders a large pizza. The customer is asked whether he wants it cut into six or eight pieces. He replies, “better cut it into six, I don’t think I could eat eight.”

If you look at the tasks and projects you do at work and then consider whether you could perform them in six hours instead of eight, do you think you could? It may sound like an impossibility, but according to an article on titled, “A six-hour workday could be good for you -- and your employer," it appears that working fewer hours actually results in higher productivity.

According to research conducted in several countries over 22 years, employee productivity starts to drop off after they’ve worked 48 hours in a week. Long hours at work lead to, not surprisingly, fatigue and stress, which contributes to mistakes, accidents, and being sick. The article described a trial run conducted in Sweden with nurses working six-hour days, and an informal approach in Scotland where the CEO of a small company adjusted his company’s workday to six hours and also initiated 45-minute “sprints” where employees would concentrate solely on their tasks at hand without interruption.

The results of these appear to show that not only were the nurses and employees more productive, but they were also much healthier. Furthermore, the quality of their work was superior. But, on the employer’s side, not everything may be as rosy.

To combat reduced time at work, some employers will need to hire additional employees – especially where around-the-clock shifts are needed. It’s also difficult to convince those in management to pay employees the same amount they would for working an eight-hour day even if the employees worked a six-hour day regardless of what they were able to accomplish.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach and management will need to determine what’s best based on the size of the company and its industry. Management may balk at the thought of a shorter workday, but as more research is done and more trials undertaken, it may only be a matter of time (and a shorter one at that) before we’re all working less to get more done.

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