What happened after Sweden introduced a six hour work day

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty

A study has been released which confirms something that's been debated for years: that working shorter hours isn't just better for your health - it also makes you more productive.

Last year the Swedish government chose to fund Svartedalens retirement home for an experiment that saw nurses working just six hours a day, at a day rate of eight hours.

The idea was to compare the nurses working six hours a day, with a control group in a similar setting.

One of the ways the study measured productivity was by comparing the quality of care each sets of nurses provided.

Findings showed that over the year the vast majority of nurses who worked six hours were actually more productive than those who worked longer hours.

Picture: YouTube

Breaking down the results, 68 of the nurses working six hours took half the amount of sick days that those in the controlled facilities did.

Not only that, but they were almost three times less likely to take time off in a two week period.

The nurses working less were also significantly happier

Bengt Lorentzon, a researcher involved in the year-long project said:

If the nurses are at work more time and are more healthy, this means that the continuity at the residence has increased…that means higher quality ([care].

They reported being 20 per cent happier and, as a result they would do 64 per cent more activities with the patients.

There is one caveat: given that the experiment looked specifically at those in the healthcare sector, the successes aren't guaranteed for say, the finance sector.

Last year a YouGov poll found that a working day of seven hours or less is the most productive, and in 2014, 57 per cent of Britons said they were in support of a four-day working week.

This study isn’t the first of its kind, and start-up companies in Sweden have been rolling out six-hour working days as well.

Background AB, a digital production company, adopted the six hour work day last September, with its staff working from either 8:30am or 11:30am for six hours, with an hour taken for lunch.

The company's co-owner told the BBC:

It's difficult to concentrate at work for eight hours, but with six hours you can be more focused and get things done more quickly.

Over to you Theresa May...

More: These are the five highest and five lowest paid cities in the UK

More: Swedish teenagers are using hand sanitiser to get drunk

The Conversation (0)