The Six Hour Workday

Various worldwide studies have been conducted, trialling theories to change the 8-hour workday, five-day work week approach. Examples of 6-hour workdays or 4-day work weeks, both for the same pay, have been studied to investigate the benefits of work-life balance, productivity, health and wellbeing.

Is the 8-hour workday productive?

Through a standard 8-hour office workers day in the US, a study by Ohio University [1] has shown employees to spend: an hour reading news websites, over 40 minutes on social media, 20 minutes searching for new job vacancies, around 40 minutes on non-work-related topics. In addition to this, once employees are interrupted from their tasks, it takes, on average, 23 minutes to return to productivity and on task [1]. The study investigates if these distractions are related to the hours worked within a day.

How can a six-hour workday affect your employees?

The current UK average of actual weekly hours of work total 37.4 [2], how could reducing that to an average of 30 hours of weekly work affect your workforce? Trials undertaken in Sweden, where companies have experimented with 6-hour work weeks have found employees to have:

  • Better perceived health and happiness
  • No loss of productivity
  • Increased employee focus and energy
  • Reduced temptation for distraction
  • Reduced sick leave

Regional Success

Made Agency – A Norwich based agency, Made, have implemented a six-hour working day. Taking their own spin on changing the norm of the 9-5 working day. Made have introduced a 6-hour working day to remove all the waste within their business. Made first reviewed the wasted periods of time checking social media, talking to colleagues, arranging meetings etc. concluding that the workforce only produced about 6 hours of work. Under a strict working structure, processes were put into place to ensure employees got 1.5 hours of pure focus time in the morning and likewise in the afternoon, dedicated to solo tasks. After each block of focus time, a 15-minute break follows. Made have implemented the Lagom – “just the right amount” of work to result in brighter, happier and a more effective team with minimised waste [3].