Sweden is Moving Toward a 6-Hour Workday

For many young professionals, the once typical 9-5 workday is no longer a thing.

As in, it’s more like 8-6 – at least.

But in Sweden (a country, as you probably know, that enjoys one of the highest qualities of life in the world), some companies are moving in the other direction and experimenting with a 6-hour workday.

And the idea could catch on.

According to a study published last month, many people often end up working 50-hour weeks (minimum) because they think they’ll get more done and that it will pay off later. The study – which involved 600,000 people – found that those who clock in a 55-hour workweek will have 33 per cent greater risk of having a stroke than those who maintain a 35-to-40 hour week.

In Sweden, many businesses across the country have already adopted the standard 6-hour workday. A retirement home is even conducting a yearlong experiment to compare the costs and benefits of a shorter workday. The Gothernburg retirement home implemented the change for their nurses with no changes to their wage. The experiment will run until February 2016, when the company will assess whether the steep cost of hiring an additional 14 new staff members to cover the cost of the lost hours is worth the improvements in patient care and employee performance and morale.


In general, the idea is that a condensed workday will motivate staff and give them energy to get more done in a shorter period of time. Of course, the idea is also to make the most of those six hours. This means staying off social media and personal calls, and not wasting time in general.

We know you work hard, but imagine going to work for 6 straight hours and actually working the entire time – we bet you’d be surprised how much you could accomplish.

A shorter workday can lead to a more balanced life, as people have more time for exercise, personal health, family, and hobbies. Not to mention, if people are rested, they’ll be happier at work, reducing workplace conflict and negative energy.

When most young professionals already feel they could use an extra 5 hours in the workday to eliminate the feeling of a never-ending to-do list, the thought of a six-hour workday may be more anxiety-inducing than a 20-hour one.

The problem is convincing people that this isn’t actually the case.