6 hour working day sweden, Ćwiczenia i Zadania'z Komunikacja biznesowa i język angielski. University of Gdansk
.24951
.249518 November 2016

6 hour working day sweden, Ćwiczenia i Zadania'z Komunikacja biznesowa i język angielski. University of Gdansk

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Efficiency up, turnover down: Sweden experiments with six-hour working day. A trial of shorter days for nurses at a Gothenburg care home is inspiring others across Scandinavia to cut back, but the cost of improving staff wellbeing is high. The Guardian 27 Sept 2015 A Swedish retirement home may seem an unlikely setting for an experiment about the future of work, but a small group of elderly-care nurses in Sweden have made radical changes to their daily lives in an effort to improve quality and efficiency. In February the nurses switched from an eight-hour to a six-hour working day for the same wage – the first controlled trial of shorter hours. “I used to be exhausted all the time, I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa,” says Lise-Lotte Pettersson, 41, an assistant nurse at Svartedalens care home in Gothenburg. “But not now. I am much more alert: I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life.” The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a six-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north. And the trend is not confined to the public sector: small businesses claim that a shorter day can increase productivity while reducing staff turnover. At Toyota service centres in Gothenburg, working hours have been shorter for more than a decade. Employees moved to a six-hour day 13 years ago and have never looked back. Customers were unhappy with long waiting times, while staff were stressed and making mistakes, according to Martin Banck, the managing director, whose idea it was to cut the time worked by his mechanics. From a 7am to 4pm working day the service centre switched to two six-hour shifts with full pay, one starting at 6am and the other at noon, with fewer and shorter breaks. There are 36 mechanics on the scheme. “Staff feel better, there is low turnover and it is easier to recruit new people,” Banck says. “They have a shorter travel time to work, there is more efficient use of the machines and lower capital costs – everyone is happy.” Profits have risen by 25%, he adds. For Maria Bråth, boss of internet startup Brath, the six-hour working day the company introduced when it was formed three years ago gives it a competitive advantage because it attracts better staff and keeps them. “They are the most valuable thing we have,” she says – an offer of more pay elsewhere would not make up for the shorter hours they have at Brath. The company, which has 22 staff in offices in Stockholm and Örnsköldsvik, produces as much, if not more, than its competitors do in eight-hour days, she says. “It has a lot to do with the fact that we are very creative – we couldn’t keep it up for eight hours.”

Linus Feldt, boss of Stockholm app developer Filimundus, says the six-hour working day his business began a year ago is about motivation and focus, rather than staff simply cramming in the same amount of work they used to do in eight hours. “Today I believe that time is more valuable than money,” Feldt says. “And it is a strong motivational factor to be able to go home two hours earlier. You still want to do a good job and be productive during six hours, so I think you focus more and are more efficient.” After a century in which working hours were gradually reduced, holidays increased and retirement reached earlier, there has been an increase in hours worked for the first time in history, says Roland Paulsen, a researcher in business administration at the University of Lund. People are working harder and longer, he says – but this is not necessarily for the best. “For a long time politicians have been competing to say we must create more jobs with longer hours – work has become an end in itself,” he says. “But productivity has doubled since the 1970s, so technically we even have the potential for a four-hour working day. It is a question of how these productivity gains are distributed. It did not used to be utopian to cut working hours – we have done this before.”

At Svartedalens retirement home, the trial is viewed as a success, even if, with an extra 14 members of staff hired to cope with the shorter hours and new shift patterns, it is costing the council money. Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, head of elderly care at the home, says staff wellbeing is better and the standard of care is even higher. The experiment at Svartedalens, set to continue until the end of 2016, has attracted interest across Scandinavia and beyond, as workers and managers ask whether they might learn something from it themselves. At the retirement home, Dahlbom Larsson is hopeful that change is in the air. “Something is about to happen in Sweden, definitely,” she says. “There is a lot of political interest, but also there is such an obvious lack of balance between work and life.”

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