Human Resources



Sweden experiments with a 6-hour workday

Clocking in 50 hours a week, Hong Kongers may be the most hardworking professionals in the world   – but looks like that doesn’t, in any way, imply they’re also the happiest.

A group of nurses in a retirement home in Sweden experimented if a shorter workday would lead to higher employee retention rates and increased productivity by working for six hours a day.

The experiment, which was reported by The Guardian, said workers at the retirement home experienced higher satisfaction at the job, leading to reduced turnover and fewer sick days after the 6-hour work day was implemented.

Nurse Lise-Lotte Pettersson said she believes that reduced hours improved the service quality. She explained she used to be exhausted all the time, but now he is much more energetic at work as a result of shorter hours.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong is the world’s hardest working city, at 50 hours a week

“Now I am much more alert.  I have much more energy for my work.  You cannot allow elderly people to become stressed, otherwise it turns into a bad day for everyone,”she said.  

The shortened hours does come at a cost – the home has to hire more people, 14 to be exact,  in order to provide the same number of service hours to clients.

This experiment is, however, more than winning applause from the public.

In fact, it also makes perfect economic sense.

The Economist published an study last year providing data that that longer working hours translates into declines in productivity, and by extension, GDP.

Will the six-hour working day work in Hong Kong?

Probably not – considering the widely-held notion that the last man to leave the office is the best employee – but it is certainly something employers should consider looking into.


Image: Shutterstock

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