The eight hour work week that has become standard in the developed world is a result of the industrial revolution and the efforts of unions for reasonable working conditions (without unions who knows how long the workday would be!). Today the long workday doesn’t seem to be justified though. In Sweden a municipal government experimented with a six hour workday and, for the most part, it worked out fine. Inspired by that experiment Swedish companies have been trying the six hour workday and have noticed no decrease in productivity – meaning you can have two more hours to living and it won’t negatively impact your employer.
“Our staff gets time to rest and do things that make them happier in life,” says CEO Maria Brath. “For example, cook good food, spend time with family and friends, exercise. This, then, is profitable for the company, because the staff arrives at work happy and rested and ready to work.”
As in most jobs, employees there likely wouldn’t work for a full eight hours even if they were in the office longer. “Our work is a lot about problem solving and creativity, and we don’t think that can be done efficiently for more than six hours,” she says. “So we produce as much asâ€”or maybe even more thanâ€”our competitors do in their eight-hour days.”