The eight hour work day and 40 hour work week has been the standard in the United States for decades now. A company called Tower Paddle Boards – and the success of the six-hour workday in Sweden – is shaking up this paradigm and forcing companies to take a long hard look at operations. Sweden reported a highly successful shift to the shorter workday and now Tower Paddle Boards is showing that this shorter workday can work for American companies, too, standing out as the fastest growing company in San Diego.
Could Shortening the Day Increase Productivity?
Trials have shown that employees are generally more productive when they work for short periods of time, rather than long periods of time. Performing any task for a long time can lead to burn out, with employees generally slowing down after a few hours. By keeping expectations high and shortening the day – without shorting pay – some companies have seen an increase in overall productivity.
How Would a Shorter Day Affect Workers?
Some European companies that have implemented shorter workdays have reported decreased absenteeism and improved worker health since the shift. Workers also generally feel happier and have an easier time balancing work and life demands. Employee creativity often increases naturally when shorter workdays are introduced.
Would Shortening the Day Save You Money?
In some cases, shortening the workday could save costs. If a building closes down after everyone goes home for the day, the utility bills are bound to decrease. This money could be better spent on the company, and in some cases the space could even be rented out or used for other purposes to make more money for the company.
Could a Shift Improve Quality of Work?
A shorter work day could improve the quality of work for some workplaces. When employees have fewer hours to accomplish a set number of tasks, they will invariably find ways to manage their time and at least tick off the higher value tasks. In workplaces where employees deal with people, they may also be more apt to genuinely engage when they are dealing with fewer people over fewer hours than when dealing with many people over many hours.
Will the Shift Attract Better Candidates?
Smart employee candidates seek workplaces that will fit their lifestyle and expectations, as well as their talent and monetary requirements. By offering a shorter workday, your company may fit in better with the expectations of employees that will add value to your company. Of course, it is imperative to still offer competitive wages and to employ other recruiting strategies that will make your company attractive to top talent.
Companies that shift to a shorter work day basically have to shift the focus from hours worked to quality of work. With this mind set, employees may still have to put an occasional long day in, but should never be made to feel guilty about leaving as long as the work is done. You may be surprised at how well your workplace functions and the caliber of work that is achieved when your workplace shifts to shorter days.