Tired of working 40+ hour work weeks? You might want to consider packing your bags and booking a one-way flight to Sweden.
Sweden is moving towards a standard 6-hour work day, with businesses across the country having already implemented the change, and a retirement home embarking on a year-long experiment to compare the costs and benefits of a shorter working day.
“I think the 8-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for 8 hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work,” Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, told Adele Peters at Fast Company.
Filimundus switched to a 6-hour day last year, and Feldt says their staff haven’t looked back. “We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things,” he said.
Feldt reports that not only has productivity stayed the same, there are less staff conflicts because people are happier and better rested.
In February, the Svartedalens retirement home in Gothenburg, Sweden, implemented a 6-hour work day for their nurses with no changes to wage, and will be running the experiment till the end of 2016 to figure out if the high cost of hiring 14 new staff members to cover the lost hours is worth the improvements to patient care and employee morale.
“The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a 6-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north,” The Guardian reports.
According to a study published last month involving 600,000 people, those of us who clock up a 55-hour week will have a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke and a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who maintain a 35-40 hour week.
I guess until the rest of the world catches up with Sweden – which is also making moves to become the world’s first fossil fuel-free nation – we’ll all just have to move there.