(Photo Credit: Daniel Sjostrom/Flickr)
Two departments will take part in the experiment. One will work the standard day, and the other a reduced schedule.
"We'll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ," says Mats Pilhem, Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg. "We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they've worked shorter days."
Critics of the plan claim that it's a "dishonest and populist ploy" to win voter sympathy before upcoming elections, but Pilhem remains firm in his claim that the goal is to increase productivity and create more jobs. Sweden's English-language news site The Local points out that the six-hour work day has been tried out before in that country, without catching on.
Still, there's some evidence that a shorter day could, as Pilhem claims, boost efficiency and productivity, as well as win voters' hearts. Research has shown that knowledge workers -- basically, everyone who works in an office, on a computer, instead of doing other types of labor -- are only good for about six hours of their typically eight-plus-hour shifts. After that, you're basically just holding down a chair.
Maybe it's time for the US to give the six-hour day a try.
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