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Is a Six-Hour Workday Better for Everyone?

There's very little doubt or disagreement among anyone that works for a living that there are too few hours in the day.

However, rather than doing the impossible and adding more hours into the day, the brilliant minds over at the Harvard Business Review are recommending cutting back the workday from eight hours to just six (and no, they are not adding a sixth day to the workweek). And while this solution seems a bit far fetched for lawyers that work off a billable hour basis, based on their research, it might just work.

Less Hours, More Focus

Notably, the research described in the HBR report explains that when employees focus on their work, they can actually get a lot more done. Basically, because of the typical office environment, where employees are distracted by email, instant messaging, smart phones, co-workers, and more, actually being able to sustain focus for more than an hour, or even 20 minutes, is often impossible.

So it's not just about cutting back the number of hours, it's also about creating a work environment where co-workers are not constantly interrupting each other, or where email or instant messenger responses are expected immediately.

Interestingly, one of the most significant benefits of a shorter work day is that workers have more time for themselves to rest and recharge, which in turn makes it easier for workers to focus while at work.

Shortening the Billable Hour Day

For lawyers on the billable hour, shortening the day could end up meaning missing out on valuable billables. However, if the result of the shorter day is a higher and better quality output, lawyers don't necessarily need to lose any income due to it. Rather, after a short test, lawyers may want to consider upping their hourly rate to account for the missing revenue from the deleted workday hours.

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