Would a six-hour day work in Ireland?
After Sweden’s experiment with the six-hour work day, it got us thinking, would that work for us?
New research reports that 6.5 million workers across the world are unhappy at work – Could less working hours per week change reduce this? And, do the positives outweigh the negatives?
Toyota Centre CEO, Martin Banck, has said that the company has reported happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits since reducing to a six-hour working day for its mechanics. While other studies have shown that employees get sick less, have lower stress, and work harder.
While some organisations imposed rules on the use of mobile phones and social media sites during shorter shifts, others kept meetings short and their occurrence less often. As a result they found that productivity increased as staff were more motivated to work in the shorter time span.
The typical 8-hour workday is not based on the number of hours we can actually hold adequate concentration levels. Some studies have shown that in an 8-hour day the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes!
Given that workers now have a whole other 18 hours to spend freely at their leisure, many reported that the dreaded commute no longer seemed as dreary. The extra time they inherited from not sitting in their cars or at their desks led them to having more time to spend with family and friends.
Some of the companies that adopted the 6-hour working day have reported a reduction in employees calling in sick. They’ve put this down to employees seeing more daylight, spending more time in the fresh air, and getting more sleep.
A happy workforce?
It is also been seen from some trials that the reduced working hours and healthier staff has led to many companies reporting an all round happier workforce. This also has been associated with greater job satisfaction and a lower rate in staff turnover.
Happier, healthier and more productive staff? Is it too good to be true?
The obvious cost is that your staff work less hours.
But do they really? If you gathered the world’s best leaders in a room and asked them would they rather their staff be present at work for 7-8 hours a day or to work productively for 5-6. They would chose the latter without a shadow of a doubt.
It is engrained in work culture that if you’re in the door first and out the door last everyday that you are the hardest working employee, this is nonsense. Great leaders and great employees measure their productivity and results rather than the hours spent at their desk.
With productivity, happiness and well-being in mind, maybe Ireland should get behind the six-hour work day.