Sweden is moving towards a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier. According to news reports, more and more employers across the country are making the change. It is hoped that as people intensify but shorten their work day, they will be able to better enjoy their private lives.
Toyota service centres in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city switched to a six-hour work day about 13 years ago. The company reported happier staff, lower turnover rate and an increase in profits and has continued with the same ever since.
Employers across the country including retirement homes, hospitals and car centres, are implementing the change. Filimundus, an app developer in Stockholm introduced the 6-hour work day last year. Its CEO reported higher productivity, decline in staff conflicts and happier and better-rested employees.
A retirement home in Gothenburg made the six-hour switch earlier this year and is conducting an experiment, until the end of 2016, to determine whether the cost of hiring new staff members to cover the hours lost is worth the improvements to patient care and boosting of employees’ morale. Initial results show that nurses are taking less sick leave and report being less stressed. Patient care also appears to have improved.
Working conditions are already quite conducive in Sweden. Only around 1% of employees work more than 50 hours a week, among the lowest. As per law, Swedes are given 25 vacation days in a year, while many large companies offer even more. Parents get 480 days (about 16 months) of paid parental leave, to be split between them.