While our prime minister has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Finland’s new female PM Sanna Marin has been generating all sorts of good press over her suggestion that working less hours could be the key to success.
“A four-day work week, a six-hour workday, why couldn’t that be the next step? Is eight hours the final truth?” Marin reportedly said.
“I think people deserve more time with their families, hobbies, life. This could be the next step for us in working life.”
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Following her comments, I saw a LOT of commentary on my social media, particularly LinkedIn, in opposition to her theory.
Some argued that this is a femanazi idea, that it lacked common sense, that it would force small business owners to employ more staff and it could kill the economy if implemented.
I’d argue that if a male leader suggested this, he would be lauded for his progressive and innovative thinking, rather than hauled over the coals…
I also think that in some industries, it wouldn’t be practical – if you are running a hospital and need nurses 24/7, you would have to schedule four staff working 6 hours, rather than three staff working 8 hours.
But in many office-based jobs, it’s entirely possible to complete your work in six hours instead of eight.
I know this, because I do it.
I transitioned from a media job working full-time in an office, to working for myself as a freelancer and consultant. I can fit in 40-50 hours of “traditional” work into about 30 hours of time at my desk, because I work very strategically. There is little time wasted at unnecessary meetings, doing coffee runs, on phone calls or browsing social media, because every hour is accounted for from a productivity perspective.
Also because I am working less hours in my week, I have time to work out at the gym, eat healthily, get regular massages to work out the kinks in my back for sitting down at work most of my day, and spend decent, quality time with my family and friends.
There are loads of studies and examples to support working less days or hours without sacrificing output, and while improving work/life balance – including this digital marketing company, which has tripled profits since introducing “work-free Wednesdays”.
What do you think? Do you think your job could be achieved in less hours or days per week – or is this idea a non-starter?