How would you like to cut your work day by 25 percent? Some Swedish companies are doing just that by moving from an 8-hour day to just 6 hours – without any change in pay.
If that seems like a foreign concept, it is. According to CNBC, more than half of all Americans put in over 50 hours of work per week. And as an entrepreneur, that probably sounds like a cake walk. The idea of working just 6 hours a day might even make you laugh out loud.
So How Do the Swedes Do It?
It helps that Sweden is a culture with a huge focus on work-life balance. In Sweden, only a freakish 1 percent of the population are workaholics. Companies big and small see the link between productivity and a balanced lifestyle. Many offer free gym memberships, flexible hours, and even more vacation time than the already un-American 25 day minimum.
The government supports work-life balance, but so does the research. A Stanford University study showed that workaholics like us who put in the extra hours probably aren’t getting all that much more done. According to the study, a drop-off in productivity begins after hour 55. This may not be a surprise to those of you propping up your eyelids with a sixth cup of coffee as you read this blog post in bed next to a sound-asleep spouse.
But Seriously… 6 Hours?
Why not just stick with the usual eight and call that a day? Well, most of us don’t actually work the entire time we’re “at work,” if you know what I mean. Our minds get tired, so we end up standing around the water cooler, hitting up Facebook, or re-reading the same sentence of that TPS report for the twelfth time and still not understanding it.
Meanwhile, startups, hospitals, and other organizations in Sweden that are trying out the new schedule are beginning to see results.
Is a 6-Hour Work Day Right for Me?
Are the Swedes just wacky? Or are they really onto something here?
You may be ready for a shorter work day, but most of America isn’t. So while you’re off to your 4pm Pilates class, clients might be blowing up your office phone. As a culture, American is far from having great work-life balance, so maybe it’s not as feasible here.
But how about a regular ol’ eight hours? There’s something to be said for turning off all distractions and hunkering down for several, hyper-focused hours. Try it out for yourself and see what happens to your productivity. Does it improve, suffer, or stay the same?
Looking for ways to help shorten your work day and get a little piece of work-life balance for yourself? Let Vivid Visual Solutions help you with your branding and marketing efforts. We can help you free up some time, and expand your reach.
You’re looking a little more Swedish already.