Sweden has just added another socially progressive break-through to their already impressive list of world firsts.

Workers in the northern European country are shifting to a six-hour work day. In a report by Fast Company employees are asked to ignore time-wasters like social media and phone apps to concentrate on their work. In recompense they clock in at 8am and go home at 2pm.

It seems everyone is winning. Employees seem much happier, able to spend quality time with their families and friends; while employers find that exactly the same amount of work gets done.

Linus Feldt, CEO of Filimundus, an app development company, said, “I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think.

“To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pause to make the workday more endurable. At the same time, we are finding it hard to manage our private life outside of work.

“We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things, or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things.”

The six-hour work day has been trialled by the government and nurses working in a retirement home. The nursing home management found the improved productivity of the nurses (due to less work) more than compensated the costs they thought would be incurred by a shorter work day.

There is also an upside to the population as a whole A recent study across Europe, the US, and Australia of 600,000 workers found that those who worked 55 hours or more per week had a 33 per cent greater chance of stroke than their counterparts working 35 to 40 hours per week.

Another study confirmed that those working 41 to 48 hours per week had an increased chance of stroke of 10%.

This jumped to 27 per cent if a person worked between 49 and 54 hours per week.

The possible savings to the health system alone make the six-hour workday financial good sense.

A spokesperson for the Swedish search marketing company Brath said, “Today we get more done in six hours than comparable companies do in eight. We believe it comes with the high level of creativity demanded in this line of work. We believe nobody can be creative and productive for eight hours straight. Six hours is more reasonable, even though we too, of course, check Facebook or the news at times.”

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