A 6-Hour Workday: America Should Follow Sweden's Lead

You can get as much done in six hours as you can in eight hours, but with much less wasted time.

A 6-Hour Workday: America Should Follow Sweden's Lead

I'm personally very grateful for the 40-hour work week, given that we'd probably still be pseudo-slaves if not for the efforts and sacrifices of late 19th-century labor demonstrators. I'm glad for the eight-hour workday because it beats the heck out of a 12-hour workday and a 100-hour work week. That said, it's entirely possible that a six-hour workday would be even better for all parties involved, and not just because I'm looking to spend more time zapping through my Netflix queue. 


Consider Sweden, a country that's frequently regarded as one of the world's most awesome (in spite of the shade my friend Orion Jones likes to throw its way). More and more Swedish companies have begun experimenting with the six-hour workday -- and many of them are sticking by the switch after being pleased with the results. The argument in favor generally begins like this:

"I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think. ... Some people would argue that [a six-hour day] is a costly measure for the company, but that is based on a conventional conception that people are effective 100 percent of an eight-hour day."

Enacting a six-hour day is fairly simple. You ask your employees to minimize personal business (that means no social media), discard useless meetings, and encourage folks to spend more time with their families and on restful activities...

That's Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, as quoted in this piece by Adele Peters. Feldt explains that his company's work-hour reduction has led to more-focused employees wasting a whole lot less time on non-work tasks and in pointless meetings. It's also given Filimundus and similar firms an opportunity to prove they're dedicated to their workers and value their lives outside of the office. That's the sort of thing that nips turnover in the bud.

Boston College professor Juliet Schor thinks Americans work too much. Compared to the rest of the world, they do.

Archaeologists identify contents of ancient Mayan drug containers

Scientists use new methods to discover what's inside drug containers used by ancient Mayan people.

A Muna-type paneled flask with distinctive serrated-edge decoration from AD 750-900.

Credit: WSU
Surprising Science
  • Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers.
  • They were able to discover a non-tobacco plant that was mixed in by the smoking Mayans.
  • The approach promises to open up new frontiers in the knowledge of substances ancient people consumed.
Keep reading Show less

The strange case of the dead-but-not-dead Tibetan monks

For some reason, the bodies of deceased monks stay "fresh" for a long time.

Credit: MICHEL/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • The bodies of some Tibetan monks remain "fresh" after what appears to be their death.
  • Their fellow monks say they're not dead yet but in a deep, final meditative state called "thukdam."
  • Science has not found any evidence of lingering EEG activity after death in thukdam monks.
Keep reading Show less

What do Olympic gymnasts and star-forming clouds have in common?

When Olympic athletes perform dazzling feats of athletic prowess, they are using the same principles of physics that gave birth to stars and planets.

Credit: sportpoint via Adobe Stock
13-8
  • Much of the beauty of gymnastics comes from the physics principle called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Conservation of angular momentum tells us that when a spinning object changes how its matter is distributed, it changes its rate of spin.
  • Conservation of angular momentum links the formation of planets in star-forming clouds to the beauty of a gymnast's spinning dismount from the uneven bars.
Keep reading Show less
Culture & Religion

Of spies and wars: the secret history of tea

How the British obsession with tea triggered wars, led to bizarre espionage, and changed the world — many times.

Quantcast