The Swedish city of Gothenberg recently rolled out a 6.5-hour work day to some of its municipal workers, in a year-long study aimed at boosting worker productivity and job satisfaction. Over at LinkedIn, Rick Johnson argues that a shorter work day would offer another perk to stressed-out workers: less time on the road, traveling to and from work.
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“Unfortunately, most of the world’s workforce isn’t lucky enough to live in Gothenburg, and with the ever growing number of commuters in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where [Johnson’s company] 3C is located, the typical commuter can face a staggering 80-minute commute to and from work every day — one of the longest commutes in North America!” Johnson writes. “And even in other cities in North America, commute times can range from 20 to 45 minutes. Stack that onto an 8-10 hour workday, and you have one frustrated employee. “
Even if you think reducing the traditional work day is unrealistic, let’s look at some of the variables and come up with additional creative solutions, shall we?
In the traditional office, everybody arrives at the same time and leaves at 5. Staggering is when different workers must arrive and leave at different times. When everybody does this, it potentially eases the gridlock on the roads because less people are commuting at the same time.
Whether you arrive at 8, 8:30, or 9 may make a significant difference in the amount of time you spend commuting. Consider asking your boss for a minor change of schedule. Remember, if you come in one half hour later, you must stay one half hour later.
No, I don’t expect the American workforce to send the bulk of its workers home. However, there may be parts of your job that you can do from home. If you can work from home a couple of mornings per week and miss the gridlock on your way to the office, this could greatly improve your work-life balance. Some people work one or two days from home, and the rest in the office. If commuting is becoming a problem for you consider negotiating working some hours remotely with your boss.
Johnson’s company solved the problem with a “reduced-hour incentive” that has resulted in greater productivity, efficiency, worker happiness, and fewer sick days.
Perhaps managers and CEOs should take note and consider implementing reduced-hour incentives. Six hours of improved productivity is better than eight sluggish, stressed-out hours. And happy employees are less likely, it seems, to call in sick.
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