A team of researchers from the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania found that chronic sleep restriction is linked with increased mortality and suggested that work should start later than it does, and that work hours should be shorter.
By delaying the start time of work, people would have enough time to sleep longer, come to work well rested and perform better. The study, published in SLEEP included 124,517 Americans and concluded that the earlier work starts, the less time people spend sleeping, and the less productive they are throughout the day.
Another study, published in August, showed that people who work long hours during the week are more likely to have a stroke.
The researchers reviewed 25 studies which involved over 600,000 participants and found that people are more likely to get sick if they work 55 hours a week or more, than if they work 35-40 hours per week. The risk of developing coronary heart disease increases by 13 percent for people working longer hours, and the longer you work the higher the risk is.
These findings should be taken into consideration when assessing the concept of a working week. For this reason, as well as for improving motivation, focus and functionality of workers, working hours should last not 8 but 6 hours.
Sweden has experimented with this and they’ve introduced a standard working day of six hours.
The CEO of Linus Feldt, a software development company in Stockholm said that working shorter hours proved to be much more effective, as people then have more time for their personal lives outside work, they have enough time to rest, and come to work the next day happier and more motivated to do the work – and hence more effective. This company switched to a 6 hour long work day last year, and they haven’t repented. The workers in this company, however, are asked to stay away from social networks and entertainment sites while working, in order to keep maximum focus. As their day is more condensed, they have enough energy to do everything that needs to be done in a shorter amount of time. Since this change was made, the workers have been happier and more rested.
The first company to switch to a working day of six hours was the Toyota service center in Gothenburg, and they have reported higher motivation, happier workers and higher efficiency at lower costs. Of course, the workers’ salaries remained the same, which additionally contributed to their happiness.
Furthermore, starting work at 10 AM would be in line with the body’s internal clocks, and we would give ourselves the chance to properly wake up and go to work better rested.
Several companies have tried this method, and none of them are complaining about negative results. Unfortunately, in America most people still work from 6 or 7 am and work at least 8 hours a day, but hopefully employers will soon understand the theory behind this idea and implement a new, more successful plan which will make both the employers and the workers happier – employers will get better products and better efficiency, while the workers will be happier, more energized, motivated and will have time for themselves as well.