Sweden’s 6-Hour Day Experiment Coming To A Sad End

Sweden Trial Comes To An End

An article we wrote in 2016 talked about how Irish workers would prefer to work fewer hours. Hopes across the world were put onto an ongoing trial in Gothenburg, Sweden, that sought to see what the impact of a six hour working day would be.

At the time, it looked very positive indeed with confirmation that nurses who worked only six hours a day were reported to be up to 20 per cent happier along with being more productive in their work life as well as at home.

The benefits of the shorter working day were reported to be clear for the employees; they felt healthier, the standard of patient care was improving and there was even a reduction in sick leave. This sounds like the perfect dream for any employer.

Too Costly To Continue

Unfortunately though, Bloomberg reports that the experiment, only two years old, is already coming to an end. The reason behind the dashing of millions of workers dreams across the world? It was simply too costly to continue. The Svartedalen retirement home, where the trial was taking place, had 68 nurses working with the reduced hours available.

But to actually keep up the standard of care that was expected, it was forced to hire 17 extra staff to supplement those already employed. The cost of this came to an eye watering 12 million kronor (around £1 million). This evidently proved far too expensive to continue on a long term scale.

This means that there are currently no plans to fully establish a six-hour working day at the national level in Sweden, proving to be a disappointment to those hoping who hope to eventually reduce their hours worldwide. While we would all love to see working days reduced to improve the work-life balance of employees, it is an unfortunate fact that costs have to be taken into consideration.

Improving the productivity rates of employees is a benefit any employer would be happy to see, however if that productivity comes at a cost it is easy to see why employers would be wary. It is likely that more trials and experiments such as Sweden’s will be seen in the future, but for the moment it seems that it simply isn’t to be.

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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