Last week a false rumour spread on the internet; Sweden was officially moving to a 6 hour working day. Obviously not true, yet I’m sure there are already some happy unknowing foreigners who’ve already packed their bags and left their notice.
What’s true however is that some companies are trying it out, without pay cuts, and it seems to be working. Research has shown that, as we all know, lot of time is spent on dillydallying around the office; coffee breaks, toilet breaks, chatting, surfing, procrastinating and on and on. Is the problem of dillydallying unmotivated employees, lack of focus or lack of too tight deadline. I at least work at a better pace knowing there’s a deadline, and with a child to get home to these days, the end of the day is the best deadline. I’m much more focused and productive.
I’m sure that official working hours can be decreased. It would be a good thing, for everyone. But what’s the best approach? Come and go as long as you do your job? Or have a set amount of time. I believe the later. While we many of us actually could do our jobs from anywhere these days, what the office hours does is confining us to a space to more easily interact with our colleagues and making projects move forward. Everyone knows that the worst way to solve a project problem is an email thread.
Maybe there are two sets of hours to talk about here.
1. productivity hours: according to research done at Melbourne University (I think) we would be the most productive if we worked an amount of 3 days a week. Can’t remember what the hours per day the calculated from. But let’s say 8 hours, a total of 24 hours. 24 hours over 5 days would be around 5 hours. Would that be possible? I’d say so but it depends on the next set of hours.
2. availability hours: those essential hours of the day when you should be available for ad hoc meetings to create a good work flow.
Is 5 hours a day enough for being productive and available, that should be the question. How many hours do we need for availability? Is 1 enough? In that case 6 hours a day seems about right. Let’s get there soon!