Could a Six-Hour Workday Make You Healthier and More Productive?

A shortened workday may make workers happier (duh!), healthier, and more productive


Less work for the same pay...sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it's not that far-out, at least in Sweden, where a small, government-funded experiment shows that shorter workdays might actually lead to more productivity. (A separate Swedish study out this week found that workplace fairness has a real impact on your health. Sweden sounds like a sweet place to work, huh?)

According to Bloomberg, 68 retirement home nurses worked six-hour days on an eight-hour salary for one year. Researchers found that these nurses were more productive than nurses working eight-hour days at a similar facility. (Hey, where can we sign up for the next study?)

The nurses who worked six-hour days took half as much sick time and were nearly three times less likely to take any time off in a two-week period, study researcher Bengt Lorentzon told Bloomberg. Not surprisingly, the nurses were also 20 percent happier and had more energy at work and in their spare time. Plus, participation in activities with the nursing home residents increased by 64 percent. Of course, there were financial drawbacks to cutting back hours-more nurses needed to be hired to cover the lost hours, which cost the facility an additional $735,000 (although, the decrease in sick days helped to offset some of this cost).

Important to keep in mind: The experiment was small and wasn't published in a peer-reviewed journal, so don't quite send this to your boss with a big "I QUIT" in the subject line. And as Bloomberg reports, a similar practice in the U.S. is probably a long way off, both due to the cost and our workaholic mentality.

But hey, we could all use a reminder to work less, right? Especially given the fact that a study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that Americans are more stressed than ever. (We're flexible though; we'd also happily take four-day work weeks!)

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