March 30, 2017 ·
By Tabitha Wells
In 2015, Sweden made headlines with a pilot program designed to reduce work hours while maintaining the same level of pay, in an effort to increase productivity, work ethics, and improve life for their employees.
The official experiment consisted of 68 nurses who worked in a seniors’ home in Gothenburg and saw their shift hours reduced from eight to six per day. The main goals of this experiment were to improve staff satisfaction, health, and patient care.
Of course, this wasn’t the first time a company in Gothenburg made such a drastic change. Toyota made the same move in the city more than a decade ago, claiming during this time staff have become happier, the company has had lower staff turnover, and profits have gone up.
While the two-year pilot at the seniors’ home saw each of their goals met, the program has been shut down and deemed a failure, due to an increase in the costs associated with a six-hour work day. In order to cover the shifts required, the city needed to employ an additional 17 nurses, costing Gothenburg an additional €1.4M (equal to $2.3M CAD) in wages.
In most situations where this kind of work day has been introduced, the majority of the results seem to conclude that people function better, are more productive, and are more motivated working six hours than they are in eight. Having more time at home and with families tends to result in people being happier, contributes to lower stress, and feeling more fulfilled. This doesn’t seem like rocket science.
When I think…
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