UK

Sweden's Six Hour Work Day Turns Out To Be Too Expensive

There were some plus sides though.

04/01/2017 15:01 GMT | Updated 04/01/2017 15:04 GMT

Many were jealous when it was announced that a number of businesses in Sweden would be trialling a six-hour day.

But unfortunately what seemed like a great idea has hit a bit of a bump - it has simply been too expensive.

The country is already known for its approach to a healthy work/life balance and in 2012 was registered as having some of the shortest work hours among OECD countries.

So it was not that surprising when in 2015 it was announced some employers would shorten their working day to improve staff morale and efficiency.

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Some businesses trialled shorter work days to try to improve morale and efficiency

Retirement home Svartedalens, in the city of Gothenburg, was among places which trialled the shorter day and did see some benefits: employees who said they felt healthier, less sick leave taken and improvements in patient care.

However, according to Bloomberg, it also cost the home around 12 million kronor (over £1 million), because they had to hire in 17 extra staff.

Local political Daniel Bernmar, who is responsible for care for the elderly in the area, said: “It’s far too expensive to carry out a general shortening of working hours within a reasonable time frame.”

Bloomberg added that there were currently no plans to bring in the six-hour day at a national level.

Other companies have had more success, with Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus CEO Linus Feldt telling Fast Company that since introducing the six-hour day in 2014, the company has not looked back.

He said: “I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge… In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable.”

To accommodate the lost two hours, Feldt explains staff are asked to minimise distractions such as social media and meetings are cut down. Productivity, he says, has remained the same.