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Sweden’s six-hour work days makes us want to move there

Research has shown that the average person will spend around a quarter of their entire waking life at the workplace. That’s a long time if you don’t enjoy your job. To be honest it’s not ideal even if you do!

Movers and shakers in Sweden are trialling a new six-hour work day in place of the traditional eight. In factories, offices, hospitals, and nursing homes across the Swedish city of Gothenburg workers are being offered a shorter working day for the same pay.

The idea behind the experiment is that staff will have more time to rest, exercise, and spend time with loved ones.  This will, in turn, motivate a more healthy and focused workforce.

One of the first businesses to adopt the scheme was a Toyota service centre run by Martin Banck. Way ahead of the trend, they made the switch thirteen years ago to address complaints from both customers and staff.

“What we can see today is that employees are at the very least doing the same amount in the six-hour workday, often more than they did in the eight-hour day,” says Banck. “It’s heavy work — drilling, building engine blocks — but they have stamina, and we have more profit and customers because cars get fixed faster.”

It might seem counterintuitive that more work gets done in less time, but in fact, the same phenomenon has been observed in the Orthopedic unit of Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where more surgeries are now being performed and waiting times have been drastically reduced.

The same goes for Svartedalens nursing home where one elderly resident observed: “The personnel are completely different. They’re happier and we’re happier.”

Despite such success stories there is strong opposition within the Swedish government, with many of those against the shift insisting that it will be a drain on taxpayers’ money and would inevitably cripple the competitiveness of the Swedish economy.

Via NY Times

About the author

Milo Sumner is a day-dreamer, living and breathing in London. When feeling low, he tends to cut loose and chase after dogs in the park. Otherwise he can usually be found pondering what to have for lunch.