Productivity 2.0: Advantages and Risks of the 6-Hour Workday

The 6-hour workday model

Imagine it was Monday morning. There is an 8 to 9 hour workday ahead of you. How motivated are you? Are you about to work effectively for 8 hours straight now? Of course not. Nobody can be productive for such a long period of time. The average day at the office usually looks like this: Most employees start by helping themselves to a cup of coffee and chatting with their colleagues. Then they check their email and surf the social web. And so the day drags on. You have been in the office the entire day and what was your actual effective worktime? 6 hours? 5? Or even less?

This is where the 6-hour workday comes in. As you can probably tell from the name, the 6-hour workday is about reducing daily working hours from 8 to 6 in order to improve overall productivity without negative effects like reduced salaries or having to work extra hours.

Can that actually work? It can!

Advantages

Studies and trials have shown that employees benefit substantially from reduced working hours. Getting off the clock early, and thus having more spare time increases their motivation and enables them to work more efficiently and productively. Due to the longer recovery periods between working hours they are healthier in the long term. Severe illnesses such as the burnout syndrome can be prevented. Also, more time spent with family and friends makes employees happier. As a result, the working atmosphere and the corporate climate improve substantially.

Imagine your Monday morning again. You can sleep an hour longer, you are well-rested for work. And although you came in for work an hour later than usual, you can still leave an hour early. How about your motivation now?

The risks

Despite the countless advantages, many employers are still skeptical when it comes to the 6-hour workday, because there are risks. Most are concerned that vast amounts of work will be left undone, that employees will still keep on taking numerous coffee and smoke breaks which would lead to even less overall productivity than before. Another critical aspect: The 6-hour workday cannot be adopted as easily in some industries as it can be in others. For example, in the healthcare industry working hours cannot be reduced without hiring new nursing staff, which will lead to higher costs. In many cases, however, the system can be implemented easily and successfully.

Implementation

In order to successfully implement the system, you will have to adapt your work processes.  Consider these three aspects to fully realize the benefits of the 6-hour workday:

  • Improved work processes.  Plan work processes thoroughly from the start and organize them logically, so you won’t forget any important issues along the way.
  • Better communication and collaboration. Improved communication can prevent misunderstandings and lead to a more pleasant work atmosphere. This will help you solve any issues as soon as they come up.
  • Greater transparency. Prevent uncertainties and misunderstandings from the start by making work processes more transparent. This enables you to avoid future problems and mistakes or at the very least mitigate them.

You should also consider making use of a project software which can help you plan and manage projects more efficiently from the start and which can improve collaboration and processes. Improved transparency and independence makes collaboration less complicated and more effective. 

Concentration and focus are important if you want to make use of the 6 hours you have. There are many techniques that help you improve your concentration.  In our next blog post, we’ll show you how you can learn to focus on your tasks over an extended amount of time

Conclusion

Remember, the 6-hour workday cannot be implemented without drawbacks in every industry. In other industries, however, both employees and employers can benefit from reduced working hours if work processes are optimized by using the right tools. Also, the remaining 6 hours need to be used productively, because: You will have to deliver results either way.