The six-hour work day

Work & Business

The six-hour work day

How does working six hours a day sound? In Sweden, some firms have been experimenting with a 30-hour work week, an idea that is getting plenty of attention.

It’s no wonder that Swedes, who are entitled to 25 vacation days a year, are warming to the idea.

For employees, working six-hour days allows more time at home with their families and improves their overall physical and mental health. For employers, if employees feel better physically and mentally, they will take fewer sick days from work and will be more productive.

In addition, some studies show that after six hours, employees become too tired and show signs of reduced productivity. By shortening the workweek, job performance, in theory, actually improves. And if employees are happier and healthier, they tend to remain more loyal, which reduces turnover.

From a community perspective, employers are able to create more jobs and reduce unemployment. For example, Switzerland, where the average work week is 35 hours, has an employment rate of 79 percent. That compares favorably to the United States’ 67 percent.

It remains to be seen what the results of a 30-hour work week in Sweden will be. But it seems like a good idea when you consider that Americans work on average 47 hours a week.

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