The 6-hour work day
Since April, we’ve been dabbling with a 6-hour work day. Well, more than dabbling actually, we’ve thrown ourselves into it like Tom Daley at the Olympics, praying not to belly flop into the water.
The first month was akin to letting out a little whoop as we leaped. But, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have a slightly startled look on our faces after surfacing.
Does it work?
Like any new venture, we had some fixed ideas, non-negotiables and expectations going into it. And it hasn’t been without it’s “Hmm, we didn’t see that coming” moments. But let’s just cut to the chase, does it work?
By ‘work’ I mean;
- Still going strong as a business. Tick.
- Staff happier. Hold on <shouts to team>. Yep.
- At least as productive. Big tick.
- Meeting client deadlines. Yes. Although there has been the odd occasion where staff have had to work past six (and sometimes 8) hours to achieve this.
No more 3pm slump. Well, most of the time at least.
Let’s get this out in the open too. I’ve been asked more than once if this is a publicity stunt. I find it an odd question. Firstly, how utterly demoralising for staff would it be if we just did it for publicity and then shelved the idea. In fact, a major consideration at the start of the project was whether to even suggest the idea of 6 hours at all, because if it didn’t work, the transition back to 8 hours would be a ‘glum’ prospect. Secondly, of course we wanted publicly from it too. Who wouldn’t. But that doesn’t define it as a ‘PR stunt’.
T-Shirts, Mugs, Baseball Caps, Key rings, Stickers, Fridge Magnets and much more and available from the Curveball store…
Times have changed. It seems us Brits are becoming ever more interested in how they work on the continent. More specifically, all eyes are on Sweden. Especially as it seems the whole country is moving to a 6-hour working day. Even our politicians are talking about it. Well, Jeremy Corbyn in any case.
So, being a video production company and all, we decided we’d pool our creative talents and produce an explainer video about it. But this is Curveball and it had to ‘feel’ Curveball, so naturally we put our brand on it. For all intents and purposes, it encompasses exactly how we feel about the 6 hour working day! So far, all the benefits with very little disadvantages.
I’ll give you good work for 8 hours. I’ll give you great for 6. Work, is after all, swapping your time for money.
We’re going to continue it. Why on earth wouldn’t we? I’m not saying working 6 hours a day would work for every industry (although with a culture shift it would certainly be closer to a reality), but it works for us.
Just to be clear, we don’t kick everyone out after they’ve done their six hours. It’s up to each team member to decide. Many of them choose to stay, either to add a little something extra to the work they’re producing or to work on their own projects. The choice is theirs. All we ask (all we have ever asked) is that work is completed on-time and they’ve poured their passion and creativity into it.
Update: when people join our team, not having experienced the 6-hour day culture before, it can be an eye-opener, for them and us! Have a read about what Lee learned when he joined us and started working a shorter day.