Poll: Would you be in favour of six-hour work days?

Workers in Sweden have served as guinea pigs for the shorter working week.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

FOR TWO YEARS, care workers at a home for the elderly in Sweden worked six-hour days for full pay.

The project has now come to an end and nurses at the Gothenburg facility have since gone back to working regular, eight-hour shifts, according to Bloomberg.

The experiment suggested that shorter work days made staff more healthy. Researchers said workers were less likely to take sick days and reported feeling more energetic and less stressed – implying greater productivity.

However, Gothenburg city officials decided not to extend the project because it ran out of money. It cost 12 million krona (€1.3 million) to hire 17 extra nurses to make up for the gaps created by the shorter working week.

That said, supporters of shorter work days argue that giving staff more leisure time would reduce costs in the long run because less money would be spent on sick leave.

But sceptics point to inconsistencies in other Swedish experiments with shorter working days.

A similar trial at another care home created the exact opposite result to the Gothenburg experiment, with the number of sick days actually increasing when staff worked fewer hours.

Meanwhile, the northern town of Kiruna’s 16-year trial was scrapped because the results were inconclusive.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Would you be in favour of six-hour work days?

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