If it feels like you spend most of your life at work, it’s because you do.
But Sweden—land of IKEA, meatballs, H&M and the Volvo—is doing away with the 40-hour-plus work week. They are pushing for their residents to only work six hours a day instead of the traditional eight.
According to the UK website The Independent, country officials hope that this move will increase productivity and happiness amongst its workforce. Plus, they also believe it will allow for people to have a better balance between their personal lives and their careers.
Now, who wouldn’t want that? But can reducing hours really achieve that?
The CEO of Filimundus, a Swedish app company that’s instituted the shortened days, says “absolutely.”
“The eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think,” said CEO Linus Feldt, told Fast Company last year.
“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 workday more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work,” he added.
Feldt also stressed that in order to make it work, his staff are not allowed on social media while at work (ugh, no thank you!), meetings are short and sweet and other distractions are cut down too. That probably means no office birthday cake and gossiping by the water cooler either.
And while there seems to be numerous personal benefits from shaving a few hours off of your day, there are some big health ones too.
A 2015 study found folks who worked 55 hours a week had a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than people who worked a 35 - 40 hour week, and a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. Other research has shown that working long hours is associated with lower mental health, particularly among women.
Now before you get hyped, it’s doubtful that the U.S. will adopt this trend anytime soon. Studies have shown that Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later that any other country in the industrial world.
But we can dream can’t we?
(Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)
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