Does a 6-Hour Workday Lead to Better Productivity? Sweden's About to Find Out.
The Swedish government is set to test out a new workday paradigm that may leave hyper-engaged entrepreneurs who work around the clock -- and still manage not to accomplish everything -- scratching their heads.
For one year, a group of municipal workers in Gothenburg, the country’s second-largest city, will have their workdays reduced to a mere six hours -- all while still earning full-time wages. Brought forth by the city council’s majority coalition of Social Democrat and Green parties, an executive committee will rule on the proposal today.
The economic experiment aims to stack up the performance of one group of employees who work 30-hour weeks against another group with standard hours -- both of whom will receive the same pay.
The thinking is that employees become too tired to be productive after six hours, said deputy mayor Mats Pilhem, and that staffers who work less may take fewer sick days.
While these types of experiments have taken place in other countries, noted The Independent, typically they’ve been nixed as a result of the stigmas surrounding laziness. A Moderate Party within the Gothenburg council even stated its opposition to the “dishonest and populist ploy.”
One department currently being eyed to test out the initiative is within the realm of elderly care. And Pilhem pointed to encouraging results at Swedish car factory in the city that had also slashed its hours as proof that the practice might stir productivity and create jobs.