Time not Money

All over Sweden, both private and public companies and services have been experimenting with a six hour work day, in the hopes that employees will be more productive and quality of output would improve. One company, Filimungus explains employees almost universally report being happier, more energized and engaged in their work. Often, although a shorter work week could potentially be interpreted as “less time to work”, a 40 hour workweek will result in more time spent using non-work related activities (social media, personal e-mail and general lack of focus) in order to balance out the physical and mental exhaustion that goes along with the average “full time” position. This study points out that preferences and perceptions aside, starting work early in the day is actually causing sleep deprivation symptoms in workers, and likens it to torture. Strong imagery to be sure, but there’s no denying that the artificial construct of the eight hour day (or the 8.7 hour day, as that is the American average) is beginning to be scientifically proven as dangerous and wholly unproductive in many different ways. Another point to consider is that modern technology allows up to complete tasks more efficiently, and facilitates inter office communication that eliminates the need for endless meetings. Linus Feldt, one of the CEOs in the first article states: “I believe that we value time more than money today," he says. "I am absolutely sure that more and more people would choose more free time before a high salary”. With any luck, the movement will catch on and companies will see that there are two bottom lines: the money they’ll make being more productive, and more importantly, that the human cost of an outdated eight hour day just doesn’t add up, socially, ecologically and economically in terms of enhanced productivity and perhaps innovation?