Shorter working hours – could they make you more productive?

Now the clocks in the UK have been moved back an hour to make it lighter in the mornings and darker in the early evening, I’m sure I’m not the only one whose body clock has had a bit of trouble re-setting itself.

This morning my eye was drawn to an article on today’s BBC news pages (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34677949) , which discusses the success of a move in Sweden to reduce people’s working hours to six a day, hopefully resulting in a better work/life balance, and, thus far, the results seem to be promising. In the main, workers in businesses taking part in the experiment start work at 8:30am and finish at 3:30pm, having taken a full hour lunch break. This means that they have extra time for their own pursuits during the late afternoon daylight.

Does this impact on productivity and do they get through the same amount of work? One boss is quoted as saying “”It’s difficult to concentrate at work for eight hours, but with six hours you can be more focused and get things done more quickly” and workers are asked to keep away from social media and personal phone calls and so on during their work hours.

Whilst this mode of working could be difficult for academics, the principle of focus wouldn’t be difficult to emulate, probably with positive results. What do you think? Could you focus more to complete your day’s targets in less time and reward yourself with even one hour to take a walk, do some thinking or even have some lunch!

 

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