October 20, 2015

Want A Six-Hour Work Day? Move To Sweden.

Are you stuck in a 9 to 5 job? Do hate suffering through the 8-hour work day? You’re not alone. No one really likes the traditional forty hour work week, but no one seems to want to change it. Except Sweden.

Aerial View Of Stockholm, Sweden Photo

According to a article from ScienceAlert.com, Sweden is currently exploring the six-hour work day. That’s right, Sweden plans to shave off two whole hours from the typical work day so that workers can improve their work life balance.

Many Swedish businesses have already implemented the change and there are ongoing experiments with the six-hour model that have been successful. Now Sweden is assessing the situation to see if the entire country should move to a standardized 6-hour work day. What’s your initial reaction? Ours was – Awesome!

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The argument is that an 8-hour work day is not super effective. It’s hard for workers to focus for that long and to also maintain their personal lives. In exchange for a shorter work day, workers are asked to eliminate social media and other distractions from the office. Meetings are shortened as well, but wages will stay the same.

Ideally, the workers will be more motivated to complete their work in a timely fashion. Without any distractions, they should be able to complete the same amount of work in six hours that used to take eight hours. A shorter work day allows workers to manage their own lives, which leads to less burn out, more efficiency, and healthier workers. Basically everyone wins because everyone is happier.

An article on HuffingtonPost.com writes about the origins of the 8-hour work day. The standard 9 to 5 work day originated back in the late 18th century during the Industrial revolution. The idea behind the eight hour work day was 8 hours rest, 8 hours recreation, and 8 hours labor. After several hundred years, it might be time to rethink this idea. Our world is now more automated, we have the ability to work remotely, and productivity has increased. Maybe the six-hour work day is the way to go?

How To Escape The 9 To 5

To help put the six-hour work day in perspective, we found a different Huffington Post article that explores how many hours people work in a year by country (based on 2012 data).  These are the top 15 of 31 countries for number of hours worked:

  1. Mexico – 2,226
  2. Greece – 2,034
  3. Chile – 2,029
  4. Russian Federation – 1,982
  5. Poland – 1,929
  6. Estonia – 1,889
  7. Hungary – 1,886
  8. Turkey – 1,855
  9. United States – 1,790
  10. Czech Republic – 1,784
  11. Italy – 1,752
  12. Japan – 1,745
  13. New Zealand – 1,739
  14. Canada – 1,711
  15. Iceland – 1,706

Where does your home country rank? How many hours do you spend in the office each year? With the six-hour work day you would only be in the “office” a total of 1,332 hours at work per year. That is significantly less time in the “office” isn’t it?

It will be fun to see how the six-hour work day ultimately operates in Sweden. If it’s successful, maybe the entire world will embrace it. The real question is what will you do with two extra hours every day?

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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