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The Benefits of a Six Hour Work Day

The eight-hour day movement had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories involved working from ten to sixteen hours for six days a week. In 1817 Robert Owen formulated the goal of the eight-hour day and coined the slogan: “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”. Interestingly employers found that when employee working hours dropped from ten or twelve to eight hours per day there was no drop off in productivity or production.

Sweden is moving towards a six hour working day. The theory behind the shift to a shorter working day is that businesses will ultimately reap the financial benefits of having happier employees who are more focused and productive during the time they are at their jobs. Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus switched to a six-hour day last year and found productivity had stayed the same, while there were fewer conflicts because workers were happier and more rested.

The average Australian works eight point six four hours every day. Of course there are big differences in efficiency and productivity between employees. Australians are working longer, not smarter and have had poor productivity growth for the last fifteen years. Businesses and employees needs to focus on the quality of the output, not the hours worked. Customer communication and problem solving activities are sub-optimal when workers are fatigued either physically or emotionally.

With busy schedules, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your practice and not find time for anything else. As Steven Covey said the highly effective people achieve a balance that promotes your overall health and the success of your practice.