While American employees continue to work more than the standard 40-hour work week, organizations in areas such as Sweden have begun to introduce 6-hour workdays. While this might sound like an unreasonable request spurred by the recent surge in employee demands, proponents of the change argue that it makes good business sense.
According to Forbes, American employees waste at least two hours of work per day. Typically this time is spent socializing or completing personal tasks while still on the clock. In this way, employers are actually losing money by requiring employees to remain at work for eight hours a day.
Those in favor of a shorter work day claim that employees are forced to bring their private lives to the office because they simply do not have enough time after work to complete errands and tasks.
Due to today’s technological advances, the concern is whether employees would still lose productive time at work even after switching to a 6-hour workday.
When considering the risks of shortening employees’ workdays, employers should first measure the stress levels in the workplace. If employees are bringing their personal tasks to work because they simply are not given enough time at home, perhaps switching to a 6-hour workday would benefit both parties. On the other hand, employees who simply waste time in order to avoid work might not have earned a 6-hour workday.
Whether in favor of or opposed to a shorter work day, today’s employers must stay in tune with their workers’ needs, including the desire for work-life balance, in order to find a sufficient balance.