Every morning you roll into work, massive coffee in hand, still feeling exhausted. That was true even before your child robbed you of whatever shuteye you used to get — now you just order the “Extra Massive.” Capitalism forces you to hide your sleep-deprived frustrations in the name of the bottom line, but the ever-innovative Swedes have decided there must be a better way.
In both the private and public sector, an increasing number of Swedish companies are experimenting with, or flat out switching to a 6-hour workday — and seeing results. Linus Feldt, CEO of app developer Filimundus, discussed the benefits with Fast Company. “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,” he said. “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.”
Other companies have touted shorter workdays as beneficial to hiring and retention. Brath, a tech startup, noted, “Once you’ve gotten used to having time for the family, picking up the kids at day care, spending time training for a race or simply just cooking good food at home, you don’t want to lose that again.” The switch can also be a boon financially: Toyota service centers that switched to a 6-hour day 13 years ago boasted to the Guardian that profits jumped 25 percent.
With so much proof pointing to the potential benefits of a shortened workday, you and your third cup of coffee can either apply for work in Sweden or hope more American companies might decide to give it a try. All that added time would give you and your spouse the perfect opportunity to spruce up the house. Although a different body of research suggests that the Swedes aren’t necessarily doing you any favors there.