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Sweden Is Shifting To A 6-Hour Work Day – Why The Rest Of The World Should Consider It Too

The country of Sweden continues to be on the cutting edge of developing and implementing positive practices.

by Mark DeNicola

In September of last year we covered how Sweden’s approach to garbage and recycling is so effective that only 1% of that waste ends up in landfills.

Just last week, several media outlets (including ecowatch.com) covered how the country was on the verge of becoming one of the world’s first fossil fuel-free nations.

And now Sweden is successfully redefining the 40 hour work week by the widespread implementation of the 6 hour work day.

The Traditional 40 Hour Work Week

The 40 hour work week is something that most of the world has not only become accustomed to, but has grown to accept.

Despite this acceptance, many of us often find ourselves drained week after week, regularly drifting out of focus when at work and eagerly awaiting the point where we can celebrate 5pm on a Friday.

But what if the work week wasn’t so draining? Would we still find ourselves so desperately anticipating the weekly TGIF moment? Or would our productivity actually surpass what we produce within what we seem to have accepted as normal?

Sweden’s Approach

Several Swedish organizations seemed happy to explore this possibility, and have experienced only positive results since making the switch.

The company Filimundus, a Stockholm-based app developer, made the shift last year with the theory that a shorter work day would make employees more motivated to accomplish more in a shorter period of time.

The company’s CEO had this to say to Fast Company:

“I think the 8-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for 8 hours is a huge challenge. … 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. … My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office.”

The one caveat that Filimundus employees must follow is to stay off of social media websites during work hours, something that I’m sure a large number of us currently distract ourselves with for a substantial portion of our 8-hour work day.

Filimundus is just one of many Swedish companies to make the shift, including a retirement home that is in the midst of running an experiment surrounding the change.

The company is trying to identify whether the cost of hiring 14 additional employees to cover for the lost hours will be justified by improvements in patient care and employee morale.

What Is There To Potentially Gain?

Here are some of the benefits I feel could come from making this shift, all of which are of course dependent on how well the change is implemented and the work ethic of each employee:

  • A more focused workforce: Knowing that they will still have an ample portion of the day available to them after work, employees should find themselves more inclined to be productive during work hours.
  • Traffic avoidance: If implemented correctly, employees could potentially avoid at least one, if not both, of the peak traffic times for travel, giving them more free time and hopefully improving their morale.
  • Improved social life: With more time away from work daily, individuals would have more time to commit to themselves and others outside of the workspace, hopefully improving relationships.
  • A healthier workforce: The excess free time could easily be used to increase important health factors such as sleep, diet, and exercise.

What Are Your Thoughts?

With several more Swedish companies ready to implement this work lifestyle shift, what are your thoughts on a shortened work day? Do you feel that it would be beneficial for all? Or do you think that the majority of us would abuse it, leaving organizations worse off in the long term?

HumansAreFree.com Addendum
by Alexander Light

As you probably know by now, I am a big supporter of the 6-hour work day because it is a firm step towards a resource-based economy, in which currency would be non existent and we would only work a few hours per week, whilst the heavy and repetitive work would be done by machines.

Working eight hours/day is only profitable to the big corporations, while we are being mentally and physically tortured by the system.

Most of us are stuck in boring and non creative environments, where we do repetitive tasks, waiting for retirement so we can start doing the things that we always wanted, but never had the opportunity.

In the current situation we barely have time to buy groceries, let alone spend quality time with our friends and families, or following personal goals (spiritual, educational, creative, etc.).

And because the system has such a tight grip on us, only a handful of people can dream of alternatives.

Mr Jacque Fresco, an industrial designer and social engineer, spent a lifetime designing the society of the tomorrow (Resource Based Economy), where everyone will have access to free housing, education, healthcare and food, whilst money will be non existent.

Believe it or not, we have all the knowledge and technology required to achieve such a society today, and it is my firm believe that we can safely transition to a Resource Based Economy by starting to work less hours per day, globally.

Another brilliant man is Carlos “Carlin” Tovar, a Peruvian architect, graphic designer and a renowned cartoonist, who is proposing a reduction of working hours from 8 to 4 hours a day.

In his book “21st Century’s Manifesto” he argues that machines and technology are supposed to liberate people from the amount of human labor they need to give in order to produce goods, but instead, the opposite is happening: people are now working more and more hours per day.

The only ones profiting from our financial enslavement are the 1% “elite,” who use us to generate currency, similarly to how we have been using animals throughout history, for personal gains.

We truly are currency slaves.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is up to us to make this idea popular and demand its implementation. Join the peaceful revolution and spread the good news!