Can 6 Hour Work Days Improve Your Productivity

Earlier this year reports came out of Sweden showing that increasing numbers of employers were moving towards a 6 hour working day. The theory behind the 6 hour work day is that by cutting meetings and banning distractions like social media and mobile phones from the office, productivity will be increased and a day’s work can be done in less time. This is turn gives workers more time for their personal lives, increasing happiness and reducing fatigue, which would boost productivity further.

It might be easy to dismiss the idea of a 6 hour working day as just another example of Scandinavian minimalist thinking, but the fact is the theory is working. Toyota centres in Gothenburg have been on a 6 hour workday for the last 13 years, and in that time management have reported low staff turn-over rates and an increase in profit.

The 6 Hour Work Day in Practice

The success of the 6 hour work day in Toyota centres is just one example, but the idea is taking hold in Sweden, and other companies have begun to jump on the 6 hour bandwagon. Businesses all over the Scandinavian country have been switching to a 6 hour work day, and last year there was even a controlled study in a Swedish retirement home to look into the benefits of a shorter working day on productivity and staff wellness. Despite the fact 14 additional members of staff were taken on to make up the extra hours, the experiment was considered a success with both staff wellbeing and the standard of care provided to the residents improving across the course of the trial.

If the success of shorter working days in the care home experiment holds true across a range of businesses and industries, the idea of a 6 hour working day could easily begin to spread across the rest of Europe and the UK.

How Can You Apply a 6 Hour Work Day

While no company is likely to turn down an offer of increased productivity and staff wellbeing, there are some companies who may believe they are simply unable to offer their staff a 6 hour working day.

If a company’s business model is built around providing excellent customer service, the idea of closing the office at 3.30pm after a 6 hour day is unthinkable. A considerable percentage of customer calls would go unanswered, which could result in loss of sales and a damaged reputation.

Larger businesses may be able to compensate for this by taking on additional staff, but for small and medium businesses the likelihood is margins are simply too tight to take on the numbers of staff required to cut everyone down to a 6 hour working day.

While this may leave some small and medium businesses dismissing the idea of a 6 hour working day completely, an idea that has the potential to improve productivity should never be overlooked so easily.

A small business may not be able to justify new staff, but an affordable plan of outsourced call handling could provide the level of cover needed to reduce their staff’s hours down to just 6 a day.

From an outsourced UK call centre, a third party call handling service can provide the extended hours of call answering customers have come to expect, while still allowing staff the shorter working hours needed to see the boost in productivity the Swedish trend is purporting.

While the theory of a 6 hour working day may still be in its infancy, should the idea prove itself fruitful in the long term, outsourced call handling could provide one solution for small businesses to cut staff working hours while still providing the high level of service their customers expect.


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