Could a shorter working day be the key to productivity?

You might have spotted a recent segment on The One Show which explored whether shorter working days, following a Swedish model, could be the key to higher levels of productivity, as well as sparking an increase in staff wellbeing.

An experiment was conducted with the Liverpool-based marketing firm, Agent Marketing. People working there initially shrunk their working days to just six hours a day for a week, but following the success of the endeavour (which was being filmed for The One Show), the company decided to extend the trial for two months.

Staff at Agent Marketing used to work from 8.30am until 5.30pm – they now come in at 9am and leave at 4pm, with a one hour lunch break, during which they have to leave their desks.

The company claims that the experiment has improved the way that the team works, encouraging them to maximise the time available to them by cutting out unnecessarily long and habitual meetings and working harder during the time that they are in the office.

In order to meet clients’ needs, they have not always been able to stick to their 9am-4pm working day, sometimes working later if a deadline needs to be met in the immediate future; the model has also been adapted into shift patterns for some colleagues, to ensure someone is always available for clients to talk to.

The experiment has, on the whole, been extremely positive for colleagues at Agent Marketing, who have reported a better work-life balance and more time to spend on family and hobbies, as well as the opportunity to leave work during daylight hours, even in the winter.

Will the practice be adopted permanently?

Workers at Agent Marketing say they believe that a 9-4 working day, like the Swedish model but with a degree of flexibility built in, would be the best way to move forward with a more efficient working day. Everyone agrees that the change has encouraged them to look at making their working day healthier and more productive – so could this be an idea worth investigating for your office?

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