Swedish Six-Hour Work Day Trial Boosts Productivity and Makes Workers Happier

By Giuliana Manca
Giuliana Manca
Giuliana Manca
May 11, 2016 Updated: May 12, 2016

One year ago, a Swedish business implemented a six-hour work day. Now, the results from the experiment are in. 

Sixty-eight nurses participated in the six-hour work day trial at the Svartedalens retirement home in Gothenburg, Sweden for one year. 

The project found that these nurses were 20 percent happier, took half as much sick time, and had more energy at work and in their spare time. The shorter days enabled the nurses to do 64 percent more activities with elderly residents. 

Bengt Lorentzon, a researcher on the project, told Bloomberg that these nurses were 2.8 times less likely to take any time off in a two-week period. 

“If the nurses are at work more time and are more healthy, this means that the continuity at the residence has increased,” Lorentzon said. “That means higher quality [care].”

Overall, the study found that the nurses were more productive then those in the control group. 

Fears over a decrease in productivity have been a major roadblock for the international adoption of a shorter work day.

“The six-hour work day has not been well accepted in many countries because organizations are worried their productivity might fall,” said Pramila Rao to Bloomberg, an associate professor of human resource management at Marymount University.

America could be quite resistant to the six-hour work day: “The Swedish model will not be easily accepted in the U.S. because we are a nation of workaholics,” said Rao.

Giuliana Manca
Giuliana Manca