The Impact A 6-Hour Workday Can Have On Your Health And Well-Being

Many people are working 8 hours a day for the last several years. However, in the Nordic countries of Sweden and Finland, the top officials give more importance to having 6 hours workday to promote a better work-life balance for their employees. This is true that longer work hours don’t necessarily guarantee optimal productivity. In fact, working 35 hours a week is more constructive than slogging for 8-10 work hours every day. Have you ever wondered about the consequences of an 8-hour workday? For this purpose, we need to understand the impact a 6-hour workday can have on your health and well-being.

The Shift In Working Hours From Slogging All Day To Performing 6 Hours Workday Today

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Working conditions were much drier in the past.

During the dawn of the industrial age in the United States, the male workforce, especially those in manufacturing, would work no less than 100 hours a week!

Years later, Robert Owen, an early industrialist and a philanthropist, started a campaign that promoted fewer working hours. He was determined to develop a better working environment for his workers.

“Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest” -the words in his slogan would echo for many generations to come.

This living principle was all well, assuming everyone functioned the same way and needed the same amount of sleep and time to recharge. In reality, we are wired a bit differently.

The 8-hour workday has become the standard working hours in the United States. It started in 1898, which brought a radical change in the way Americans worked.

When Henry Ford issued a 40-hour workweek for his workers, he said:

“It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either lost time or a class privilege.”

Is It Time To Re-evaluate Ford’s Model?

While no magical number of hours would transform us and make us happy forever, a more elegant balance between work and our personal lives is much needed. After all, we are supposed to work to live life to the fullest instead of living life to work at a job.

First of all, the 8-hour workday is not based on science. It’s derived from old norms meant for men working in factories.

In other words, the concept of the 8-hours workday is outdated because it ensues focusing more on time spent at work and less on productivity. Maybe, it’s time to reconsider a fixation on time and start thinking more about energy well spent.

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A government study was carried out in Sweden, which demonstrated that a 6-hour workday could boost productivity and provide a more engaging work environment. People who took an active part in the study were happier, less stressed, and enjoyed their work.

Although the idea of working fewer hours has been around in Europe for a while, more specifically after 1989, somehow, businesses have not adopted it yet. It has become apparent that technology innovation is changing work as we know it and at a fast pace.

How Effective Are We Really In The Course Of An 8-Hour Workday?

There is an increasing number of researches regarding the detrimental effects of our current working schedules on our mental health and physical health. Simply put, the human body isn’t adapted to sit in front of a screen most of the time.

And when it comes to results, studies indicate that in 8 hours, we are productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes!

So are we ready to make a shift towards a more efficient, more productive, and healthier alternative?

Reasons Why Adopting A 6-Hour Workday Is Beneficial For Everyone

Here are six reasons why working less has multiple benefits for companies as well as employees.

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Let’s find out how working 35 hours a week and 6 hours a day is more beneficial!

1. Promotes Work-Life Integration

Work-life integration is commonly misunderstood for work-life balance, but they entirely vary in how they approach managing the two main pillars – work & life.

Work-life balance separates or encourages to integrate between professional & personal life, whereas, on the other hand, work-life integration drives to marry both work & life.

But, how?

A typical example of work-life integration would be working from home and sharing time between your personal & professional life by getting things done and spending quality time on both spectrums.

On a normal 40 hour workweek, work-life balance takes a back seat when you are constantly stressed about your job because of overtime, leaving you accentuated for spending less family time too. But, a 6-hours workday ensures that you prevent your mind from feeling stress. It further spikes up the productivity scale of a company.

Sweden ranked the best for its work-life balance culture and 6-hour workday. In Sweden, nurses who had a 6-hour workday every week showed 64% more productivity and gave more extraordinary service to patients.

Even when the employees are not feeling motivated and productive at work, working for six hours warrants that they at least complete a specific task within time and in a cordial environment.

On top of that, it helps easily integrate your “work” and “life” to accomplish a feeling of satisfaction.

2. 6-hour Workday Reduces Stress

This is another primary reason we should get rid of working longer hours. Stress is incredibly prevalent in our society today. Dealing with stress is becoming more challenging, but things don’t have to be this way.

According to a study by Health Advocate, one million employees miss work each day because of stress. That’s a staggering number which costs employers big money every year.

What’s more saddening is the fact Americans believing their work is the primary source of stress in their lives, according to the American Institute of Stress.

Therefore, working less and having more time for us could turn things around a lot.

3. 6-hour Workday Impacts Productivity

In today’s day and age, productivity is the primary goal of businesses because it translates into profit. A 6-hour workday has a significant impact on productivity. The generally accepted idea is the association of more profit with more work.

In contrast, the reality is different. Instead of focusing on working quantitatively, we should start thinking of elevating the quality of our work.

Research also shows that excessive workload can lead to feeling burnt out and exhausted at the workplace.

Ironically, more time away from work equals enhanced productivity at work. Time spent away from work can prevent burnout and foster creativity.

When we feel we have more time to dedicate ourselves, we feel more relaxed and satisfied at work.  As a result, workers can yield more positive results because the most productive work you can do is relax once in a while.

4. It’s Better For Our Mental And Physical Health

People who work lesser hours tend to take fewer sick days. Why? Because they don’t get sick as often!

Whether it’s because they have less time to worry about emails and deadlines and more to engage in healthy activities in their spare time, working less has a significant impact on one’s overall health and well-being.

As a result of this, they have stronger immune systems, so it’s less likely to spread illness to a colleague. In fact, chronic stress due to overwork can result in the immune system becoming “resistant” and compromise it further.

Most importantly, working fewer means we get more time to rest and get more quality sleep, which is essential for our mental well-being.

5. It Gets Employees More Engaged And Invested

Suppose the stress level is highly reduced in a work environment, and the productivity levels are on the rise. In that case, that particular workspace will thrive and keep the employees satisfied and happy.

When they’re more content with what they do, they will put more energy and skills into turning their experience into an even more fruitful collaboration.

This is because they get a better chance to feel replenished. They will commit more to the tasks and get more involved. A positive environment will inevitably make employees feel genuinely more valued, and they will want to give back, so it’s a win-win situation.

6. It Fosters Better Relationships

A 6-hour workday also has positive impacts on your relationships. Oddly enough, working less could improve our relationships both at the office and at home. How? This has little to do with socializing more at work.

In the end, it’s about the environment we all create. When we’re more dedicated to achieving a goal together with our team, we become more united.

Imagine co-workers who are less stressed and leading more meaningful lives interacting with one another. They could get more creative and even treat work like play – and this will make everyone bond with each other in unexpected ways.

Concluding Thoughts,

Needless to say, the less time we spend at work, the more time we get to spend with our loved ones. This is another positive impact of a 6-hour workday. More quality time with our best friend, our kids, or our partner will make us feel happier and more fulfilled. And this enables us to face any problem that might occur at work.

All things considered, we need a higher balance between work and home life, one that results in more meaningful work and relationships and mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

How bad do you feel is an 8-hour workday? What do you think? Is it time to start thinking about not working longer hours but working smart? Subscribe to us and stay tuned for more updates.

Key Takeaways On Impact Of 6-Hours Workday

  • Working for 8 hours a day doesn’t guarantee the greater productivity of a company.
  • In fact, in Finland, the top officials give more importance to having 6 hours workday to promote a better work-life balance for their employees.
  • In the past, the US makes the workforce worked for 100 hours a week.
  • It was Robert Owen, an early industrialist, who brought a radical shift in the working hours. Further, he improved the working environment for his workers too.
  • Since then, 8-hours workday has become standard working hours in the United States.
  • However, the 8-hours workday concept is outdated because studies found that we are productive for only 2 hours and 53 minutes.
  • That is why working 35 hours a week is more productive in today’s world.
  • According to a survey, nurses in Sweden who are on duty for a 6-hour workday were 64% more productive and provide better care to patients.
  • Also, the 35 work hours a week significantly lowers the stress levels of employees.
  • Shockingly, most Americans believe their work is the primary source of stress in their lives.
  • Since excessive workload can lead to feeling burnt out, a 6-hours workday prevents the same from happening to employees.
  • People also experience better mental health and physical health due to the 6-hour a day work culture.
  • Moreover, it provides employees with an engaging work environment where they freely collaborate with other professionals and build better relationships.

Which countries have a 6-hour workday?

Sweden and Finland are the only countries that follow the 6-hour workday rule for some of their companies.

How many hours are people productive at work?

Several studies have concluded that people are productive for three hours at work which amounts to an average of 15 hours a week.

What are the benefits of a 6-hour workday?

  • Promotes work-life integration.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves productivity levels of the company.
  • Facilitates better mental and physical health.
  • Creates an engaging environment for the employees.
  • Fosters better relationships.
Gregoria Petrea is a blogger, poet, writer, and editor with an academic background in Cultural Studies. Her other interests include music, painting, and gender studies.