Anyone who’s ever been employed knows working an 8-hour day isn’t exactly enjoyable.
Even if you really love what you do, the 9-to-5 grind, day in and day out, can get to just about anyone. As a result, a lot of people end up watching cute cat videos at the office, or they start getting stressed out — sometimes people even miss important moments in their personal lives because of their job.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a study published last month found working more than 55 hours a week is linked to a 33 per cent increased risk of developing a stroke and 13 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Makes you feel good about all those long nights at the office, doesn’t it?
But that’s exactly why some companies in Sweden are introducing a six-hour workday.
Toyota centres in Gothenburg, the country’s second-largest city, actually made the change about 13 years ago. But now that the company is reporting happier staff, increased profits and a lower turnover rate as a result all these years later, other employers seem to be taking notice.
“I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think,” Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, told Fast Company. “To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.”
Feldt made the switch last year and says it hasn’t made a substantial difference in the way people work per se, but workers now stay off social media and away from other distractions while at the office.
He’s also not the only one.
Another tech startup, Brath, made the switch three years ago. And the company reported pretty significant results in a blog post.
“Today we get more done in 6 hours than comparable companies do in 8,” Brath staff wrote.
Six-hour workdays are even creeping into the public sector. Nurses at a government-run retirement centre made the switch while maintaining their usual salary back in February. While the change ended up ultimately costing the facility more money, those costs were apparently offset by the better care the now less-fatigued nurses provided.
“I used to be exhausted all the time, I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa,” Lise-Lotte Pettersson, one of the nurses who works there, told The Guardian. “But not now. I am much more alert. I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life.”
The retirement centre example is just an experiment, and may not become official policy. But that’s fine, we’re more concerned about when this will become policy in Canada.