In the municipality of Gothenburg in Sweden, plans to experiment in six-hour workdays have been underway since April 2014. Preliminary reports on the results of a trial at a retirement home, suggest staff are happier more energetic and the quality of care has increased.
In a controlled trial, one group of workers have had its workday reduced to six hours with no reduction in pay, with the aim of improving employee health and well-being, reducing sick leave and increasing the quality and efficiency of work performed. Mats Pilhem, the Left Party Deputy Mayor who pushed for the scheme, also emphasised the potential for shorter working hours to reduce unemployment.
The experiment is viewed as a success at the centre, with nurses reporting whilst they used to be exhausted they are more alert and have more energy for their work and for their family life. The Head of Elderly Care, Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper she was concerned that the trend towards longer and more intensive working hours in the sector caused exhaustion, illness and depression amongst staff. Larsson reported that both employee well-being and the quality of care have improved as a result of the shorter working day.