Truthfully, I'm not sure, but it sounds GREAT.
This is a topic which comes up time and time again; the argument that reduced working hours can increase both engagement and productivity within the workforce. A study in Sweden has followed nurses working in a retirement home for around a year now, where they have been working 6 hours a day on the same rate of pay as their typical 8 hour shift. The whole point of this study was to test whether a shorter workday can increase the productivity of workers, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the results were very positive.
So why is this then? If there are less hours worked, how can workers be more productive? Is it about working smarter? Perhaps it's psychological. Maybe the thought of knowing you'll be stuck at work for the next 8, 9 or 10 hours is contributing to a subliminal lack of urgency. It could be that the number of hours spent at work simply tire workers out. The same report about the Swedish nurses showed that nurses who worked 6 hour days took half as much time off for illness as those who continued to work their standard 8 hours. That's a pretty staggering finding.
It's not the first time I've heard of this kind of movement from the Swedish. The question is, how long will it take for businesses in the UK to follow suit? If less hours increase productivity, surely it's a relative win for every organisation? In a world where we are so well connected, we are already seeing a huge shift away from the old-fashioned 9-5. Many businesses operate a 'we don't care when you work, just get the work done' kind of situation. It's modern and it's known to work if you hire the kind of staff who are particularly responsive to this approach. Could it be then, that by 2030 we'll all be working 15-hour weeks and indulging in leisure time for the majority of our lives? This kind of makes me wish I was a good 10 years younger than I am if it's actually a possibility!
"In many companies today, you still see that mentality that you have to be in the office," added Carol Sladek, work-life consulting lead at Aon Hewitt LLC. "Reducing the workday is very foreign to our overall values." John Maynard Keynes didn't think so. He famously predicted that technological progress would lead us to shorter weeks and abundant leisure time; a 15-hour workweek should be the norm by 2030, he prognosticated. The prophecy was echoed by Herman Kahn, who in the 1960s said Americans would one day have 13 weeks of vacation and a four-day work week. That's definitely not the reality in 2016 America.