The eight hour working day was borne in the early to mid-twentieth century, and was considered a success compared to the long working days of the Industrial Revolution. It’s safe to say, that times have changed.
The eight hour working day may have once been a triumph, but in a world where the majority of work can be completed remotely, it seems like an unnecessary expense.
Enter the changing working day. It has been predicted that 2016 will be the beginning of a new era of working days – particularly for those in offices. The shorter working day and the option to work from home are particularly popular with millennials, who have become the driving force of many businesses.
In order to keep up with larger brands, who are able to experiment more easily with their working hours, small businesses will have to make changes and embrace the possibility of a new working day.
Flexible Working Day
One of the options available to employers in the UK currently is giving their employees a flexible working day. Flexible working covers multiple ways employees can have a varied work pattern. Each type of flexible working has different benefits for different types of businesses.
Flexitime is when an employee is allowed to choose the hours they work. There is normally a set of ‘core hours’ that have been agreed by the employer and employee.
Compressed hours are similar to flexitime in that the employee gets to choose when they work. Despite the name, compressed hours are the same amount as full time, but they are fitted into fewer days.
This can work for employees who have other commitments such as a young family, or different work projects. Job sharing works well in a variety of industries, as it is when two people are employed and the hours are split between them.
Annualised hours are an amalgamation of compressed hours and flexitime. An employee is set a specific number of hours that they must work a year, and it is up to the employee when they work these hours. Like flexitime, there are sometimes ‘core hours’ that must be worked.
Telecommuting is the upcoming flexible working day that’s becoming more popular, particularly with millennials. This is suitable only for office jobs and positions where work can be completed remotely. This can be either an occasional or a permanent working arrangement. This is perfect for positions in telephone sales, writing and customer service.
Although many of these flexible working arrangements are already widely acknowledged by employers, telecommuting is a relatively new concept that may take some getting used to. As of June 2014, every employee has the right to request a flexible working day, although it is not their right to demand one.
There are some downsides to telecommuting, such as struggling to keep a sense of work morale and involvement with other employees.
Six Hour Work Day
Alternatively, some countries have taken on board the idea of a six hour working day. The concept was created in Scandinavia, and is already in place in some countries, with Sweden having become the most recent to trial the change. The idea behind the model is that instead of an eight hour day, the working week is reduced by six hours a week, to a six hour day.
The model aims to give employees a healthier work life and home life balance, with more time for family and hobbies. This balance has proved to increase employee happiness and boost productivity. With this healthier balance, employees are more dedicated and hard-working when they are at work, and are more likely to be able to think clearly and creatively. In countries where the model is in place, companies have seen an increase in profits.
Whether you decide to send your employees home to trial telecommuting, or you want to try out the six hour work day, it’s a good idea to see if one of these methods could work for you.
Not only will your employees be grateful that you’re thinking about how to keep them happy and working at their best, but you will be able to find the most productive method of running your business, while keeping ahead of the competition.
Are you considering the six hour working day? Or do you think that telecommuting would work best for your business? Leave us a comment below and let us know!