In a bid to improve productivity, Sweden’s second largest city is slashing working hours to just six hours per day, on a trial basis.
The trial, which will last for one year, affects city council workers in Gothenburg after the council’s ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Green parties proposed reducing working hours to just 30 per week, while keeping other departments working normal hours as a control in the ‘experiment’.
Staff working shortened hours will be kept on full pay.
The move comes after France mandated a new labour movement which states employers cannot contact staff via email after working hours, in a bid to better control work-life balance.
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The focus on creating work-life balance in Sweden has stemmed from a theory that working fewer hours will result in fewer sick days, improved productivity and possibly more jobs.
Deputy Mayor Mats Pilhem told The Local he thinks “it’s time to give this a real shot in Sweden”.
He explained some departments would be affected while others remained the ‘control’, and their performance will be assessed by researchers year after year.
“We’ll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ. We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they’ve worked shorter days,” he said.
This isn’t the first time countries or individual companies have trialled shorted working days, but from experience some previous trials have struggled to overcome cultural stigmas that working fewer hours equates to laziness and reduced productivity.