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Is the 9 - 5 work day a thing of the past?

The working world has been abuzz with news of Sweden’s “revolutionary” 6 hour work day. A marketing company in Liverpool has also adopted this shorter working day, which is currently proving successful.

But, is this new work-life balance the way forward? Is the 9-to-5 work day a thing of the past?

How did the 9-to-5 start?

The work day has remained reasonably unchanged since it’s adoption in the early 1900’s. During the industrial revolution, it was believed that running businesses all the time would lead to more output, which in turn would see better profits. It wasn’t uncommon for people to work up to 16 hours a day.

Eventually, factory staff burnt out and Robert Owen took a stand, calling for ”8 hours of Labour, 8 hours of recreation and 8 hours of rest”.

One of the first companies to adopt this new 888 approach was Ford, who didn’t only shorten hours but doubled pay. Other employers saw how positive this change was, not just to worker happiness, but to profits and production and left us with the work day that is still in effect now.

Who’s backing the change?

It’s been widely reported that Sweden is moving all its companies to the 6 hour work day, but that really isn’t the case. Trails have been running since last year in certain companies in Gothenburg (the first of which was a nursing home). The results have yet to be fully analysed, so until then we won’t know how successful it’s been.

Until then, make the most of your day!

Depending on how trials go, the six hour work day could make it into our mainstream. But on the other hand, it could not. It doesn’t matter how many hours you work if you aren’t productive. Make the most of your day by managing your workload effectively.

Most productivity moles work on the principles of Ultradian Rhythm and its effect on your day. While it sounds complicated, the rough meaning is that we all go through cycles during the day, and during those cycles we have periods of time where we’ll be more productive.

In short, we work best in 90-120 minute blocks. Any longer than that and we find it hard to concentrate, making it easier for us to get distracted, produce lower quality work and take longer on our tasks.

When you get into work, take 5 minutes to break your day. First, pick three tasks that you need to get done today. From there split your day up into 90-minute blocks, giving yourself 15 minutes in between to make a drink, have a stretch or get a snack.

By working this way, you’ll always be 100% focused on the tasks at hand.

Test out the 90-minute work cycles and let us know if you’re feeling more productive!