Sweden Has Shifted To A 6 Hour Work Day – Should The Rest Of The World Do The Same?
Sweden is often considered on the cutting edge of providing a safe and happy life for its residents. Swedish citizens are all granted health insurance, free college tuition (though many students still end up in debt) and they even recycle 99% of their waste. Now, Sweden is taking on the 40 hour work week, redefining a work day as 6 hours.
The 40 hour work week is something we're used to in the United States, though underemployment became a huge issue after the financial meltdown of 2008. Even 40 hours a week feels draining to many workers, depending on the job. So Sweden is trying a new approach.
The government of Sweden was ready to explore the possibility of a 6 hour work week. Filimundus, a Stockholm-based company that develops apps, shifted to shorter work days, thinking the change would make workers happier. The company's CEO told Fast Company:
"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. … 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. … My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office."Filimundus' change came with some strict new productivity rules, such as mandating that employees must stay off social media during work days and disregard other distractions.
What does Sweden think it can gain from a 6 hour work day?
1. A more focused and productive work force.
2. A shorter peak traffic time.
3. An improved social life for its citizens.
4. A healthier workforce.