Could The Swedish Way Work In The UK?

Submitted by Mark on 28th November 2016

Work life balance, six hour day, effective leadership, HR, employee engagement

Sweden has made headlines recently after some companies decided to move to a six-hour working day, in an effort to increase productivity and offer staff a better work-life balance.

Interestingly, Toyota workplaces in Gothenburg adopted this way of working thirteen years ago, with great success. It’s been reported that the business experienced a profit increase, higher retention of staff, and happier employees. 

As an employer, it’s likely that you read the latest developments with interest.  Do you applaud the decision to do things a little differently, or do you roll your eyes and quietly confess that this kind of working arrangement could never work in your business? 

The concept of an eight-hour working day is one that’s been carried down for generations, so it’s no surprise that so many companies work this way simply because it’s the way they’ve always done things.

Maybe you think that a shorter working day is a nice idea but not something that you could realistically try any time soon.  It’s true that these types of changes can’t happen overnight, however, the changing culture in Sweden offers an excellent opportunity to rethink alternatives to traditional working practices. 

So what are the constraints of an eight-hour working day?  There’s no denying that it’s difficult to remain focused for the entirety of a nine-to-five shift and it’s highly likely that a significant chunk of the day is spent on mundane tasks that add no value to the business. From browsing social media to staring out of the window looking for a little inspiration; eight hours in the office rarely equates to eight hours of productivity. 

We’re all familiar with how tricky it can be to find a happy balance between work and our personal lives. If we could tap into the secret formula that allowed us to work less hours, enjoy more time at home, and make an effective contribution at work, the benefits could be endless. 

Swedish companies embracing the six-hour day will no doubt have their fair share of challenges ahead, but with effective leadership and a commitment to challenging the status quo, it could prove to be a ‘win-win’ for everyone. 

If productivity is a problem in your workplace, or you’re simply looking for ways to get more from your staff, then get in touch today by clicking the button on the right or calling us on 01604 763494 to arrange a no-obligation consultation. After taking the time to get to know your business and the key challenges that you’re facing, we can implement an action-plan to ensure that you’re on track to achieve your wider strategic goals.