Get All Access for $5/mo

In Sweden, 6-Hour Workdays Boost Productivity, Energy and Happiness Could shorter workdays benefit your company's bottom line?

By Rose Leadem

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Shutterstock.com

Office perks such as free snacks and gym membership discounts only go so far. Turns out, if you really want to make your employees happy, you might consider cutting their hours.

That's what one Swedish city found. Recently, researchers in the country's second-largest city, Gothenburg, conducted a 23-month study testing a six-hour workday for nurses in an eldercare facility. From February 2015 to December 2016, the researchers examined the effects that a shorter work week had on 68 female nurses, a profession that is considered highly stressful. The nurses' hours were cut, but their pay was not.

Related: The Well-Being Perks You Never Thought to Offer

They found that, as a result of working shorter days, the nurses' productivity levels increased. They took fewer days off and were reportedly happier and more energetic. Overall, nurses who worked six hours a day took 4.7 percent fewer sick days than when they worked eight-hour days.

The proportion of nurses who still had energy after their shifts also increased -- from approximately 20 percent to 50 percent for those who worked six hours a day. This extra energy may be partly why the six-hour-day group increased their physical activity by 24 percent over the study's duration. "Less tiredness and more physical activities is the major improvement," Bengt Lorentzon, one of the researchers who conducted the study, told The Washington Post.

Related: How to Make a 5-Hour Workday Work for You

However, the study did not last long enough to determine whether shorter workdays would result in long-term improved health for employees -- and thereby reduced healthcare costs for employers -- Lorentzon noted.

The study concluded that by working shorter days, nurses managed their duties better and were happier, healthier and less stressed. "They would go the extra mile," Lorentzon said. "They had more time to sit down and listen, read a book, look at a newspaper with [patients] or comfort those not feeling so good."

Related: 5 Simple Ways You Can Create a Perfect Work-Life Balance

Employers considering shorter work weeks for employees might worry about the costs of having to make additional hires to fill in shifts (as in the case of nurses) outweighing the savings that more productive employees would bring. But for businesses that don't rely on shift workers, the potential for increased productivity might make six-hour days worth experimenting with.

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Branding

ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.