UPDATE: We got it wrong; Sweden isn't getting a six-hour work day. Turns out a piece of information was misinterpreted, picked up by a bunch of news sources and made its way to us. Read all about it here.
Sweden is adopting a six-hour work day in an attempt to make people happier and boost productivity levels. According to Science Alert, employers throughout the country have already introduced the change. The website says the aim of the adjustment is to ensure workers have the time and energy to enjoy their private lives, as well as the ability to get more work done in a shorter space of time.
After making the switch 13 years ago, Toyota centres in Gothenburg reported happier staff, a lower turnover rate and an increase in profits. More recently, last year Stockholm app developer Filimundus made the shift to a six-hour work day. Filimundus CEO Linus Feldt told Fast Company: "The eight-hour work day 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 work day more endurable."
To ensure his staff members are motivated to work more intensely, Mr Feldt prohibits employees from using social media on the job and has scaled back daily distractions, such as meetings, to a minimum. The CEO says that, as a result, people have the energy to pursue their private lives in ways that would be difficult if they were working eight hours every day. Speaking of the change, Mr Feldt said: "My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done, and you have the stamina to do it and still have the energy left when leaving the office."
Science Alert reports that even doctors and nurses in some hospitals in Sweden have adopted the six-hour work day. Meanwhile, a Gothenburg retirement home that made the change this year is in the process of conducting an experiment until 2016 to determine whether the costs involved in hiring new staff members to cover the lost hours is worth improvements to patient care and employee morale.