Six hour work day – does it work?

finish work early

It was first introduced in Sweden, now France have adopted the six hour working day. It’s appeal is spreading with more companies in the UK taking up the idea.

While most Britons work 40+ hours a week, there’s a compulsion to stay in the office and work long hours but is this really necessary?

Just because you’re in the office doesn’t always mean you’re working productively. Studies have shown that people only use 60-80% of their day productively. By reducing the working day to six hours instead of eight, nine or ten doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get less done.

When time-wasting, low value tasks; distractions and interruptions; meetings; etc. are taken into account, you could already be wasting 1-2 hours a day.

Reduce your working hours to six a day so you use the available time more effectively. You’ll stay focused and less likely to waste time on distractions or being side-tracked.

When you’re really in the flow or up against a deadline, you get more done and fly through tasks, even the more mundane ones.

Working only six hours a day is like having mini daily deadlines. You have the motivation to finish on time and the added benefit of two more hours for yourself.

When you’re able to live a more balanced life, spending less time at work, you’ll be happier in both your work and personal life.

The three things people say they would do more of (if only they had the time) are – exercise, sleep and time with family/friends.

With an additional two hours each day you can …

… find time to exercise – before or after work.
… plan quality time with your family and friends.
… take up a new hobby.
… find time to study or learn a new skill.
… have more time for yourself.
… volunteer your free time.

Happy, healthy employees are more productive, achieve more and take less time off sick.

Customers and deadlines will always come first, so use flexible working hours to provide cover across the working day.

Advise clients and customers of your new working times and you might also encourage them to be more pro-active and organised, resulting in fewer demands of “I need it now!”.

Plan and organise your work accordingly into six hours rather than vague start and end times or no time at all. Give longer lead times to avoid the usual last minute panics and time pressure.

Yes, there will always be last minute deadlines and unexpected urgencies but make these the exception rather than ‘the norm’.

Try it, even for a couple of days a week. See what a difference it makes to your productivity, balance and sense of wellbeing.