Sweden made news this year when it declared that the 8 hour workday was a thing of the past. While we have been signing 40 hour work week contracts for decades now, research has proven the 8 hour workday to be ineffective and unproductive.
A few companies, mainly in Sweden, have embraced the shorter workday and have declared that not only does it work, but that 6 hour work days are definitely more productive for companies and employees alike.
Svartedalens Care Home in Gothenburg
It may seem an unlikely place for an experiment to find alternatives to the traditional workweek, but this little retirement home in Sweden has proven beyond a doubt that the 6 hour work day produces better results.
As one of the nurses says it simply means that the staff are less exhausted and that they have more energy for work.
The retirement home made the switch to shorter work days in February 2015. And without cutting the nurses’ pay, it has proven that the 6 hour workday is more effective.
Brath is a Swedish tech start-up that doesn’t need slides to prove to its employees that it cares for them. Rather, they’ve radicalised the scene for every tech start-up out there by realising that what employees really need is more free time.
Like most tech companies, Brath recognizes that to be ahead of the game you need to employ talent, and they know that competition amongst tech companies is fierce, which is why they don’t like to risk their employees’ happiness. Brath has realized that in order to move forward they must have shorter work days. By embracing the 6 hour workday, they ensure that their employees remain productive during their entire workday.
The numbers prove them right as well. Despite making the change to 6 hour workdays, the company’s revenue has not decreased. As the company’s CEO notes, Brath has been doubling its revenue year by year.
Brath recognizes that talent and creativity cannot be forced, and despite popular belief, 6 hour workdays do not mean that employees do not have time to breathe, rather as Brath’s CEO puts it ‘We believe nobody can be creative and productive for 8 hours straight. 6 hours is more reasonable, even though we too, of course, check Facebook or the news at times.’
Not that they never have to work late, it’s just that working late for them means getting off at 5!
Filimundus is another company that’s embraced the 6 hour workday. According to their CEO, nothing much has changed in the company. Employees have been asked to stay off social media, and they’ve limited the number of meetings they have since they seem to have recognized that staff meetings are essentially a waste of valuable company time.
According to the company’s CEO, 6 hour workdays are more effective because they require shorter periods of concentration and intense work while employees can leave in time to enjoy their after-work life as well.
“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 the energy left when leaving the office.”
Experimenting with the traditional workweek is essential as more distractions enter our lives, and our concentration spans shorten. It stands to reason then, that as technology continues to make our lives easier, we need to take advantage of it and allow employees more free time to explore their interests. After all, better-rounded individuals make better employees!
Has your company made any innovations in this area? Do you think you would benefit from a six hour workday? Share with us in the comment section below.