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All work and no play makes for meh output.

There have been loads of studies on how to optimise productivity and most of them have found that 35 hours per week is ideal. There’s a town in Sweden that is going even further. They are conducting an experiment. They have decreased the working day to just 6 hours for some people without decreasing their take home salaries while keeping some people at 7+ hour days, which they have been used to previously. They plan to track productivity and compare the two groups.

The theory is that there is a lot of wasted time in a full working day and I think there’s something in that. We’ve all been guilty of getting a little distracted at work (for me, it’s usually snack related distraction). If we spend less time at work, we’d have more time to relax and do those things that we never seem to have time to do. They’re hoping that workers will be more focussed and get more done in the time they have at work. Would more people enjoy their jobs and chuck fewer sickies, if they didn’t have to work all the time?

This approach isn’t embraced by all employers. Those opposing shorter work days often worry that time will continue to be wasted and won’t result in the desired effect. Productivity would therefore be reduced. A valid concern.

I’ve always believed in the importance of having a balanced life. Get a job you love, work hard and do well but leave plenty of time to enjoy other things in your life. This approach stems from the argument that happy people who spend less time chained to their desk, stress less and work more efficiently. Although it might not suit everyone, I like where they’re coming from and eagerly await the results of the Swedish study.