Sundi Rose
October 02, 2015 7:09 am

If you lived in Sweden, happy hour would start a whole two hours earlier. That means that work would end two hours earlier, you could squeeze in two extra hours of Netflix, get to bed two hours earlier, and your quality of life would significantly improve. Win-win-win. 

Sweden is implementing a six-hour workday, and it might just be the best thing to happen to labor practices since the water cooler and the coffee-break. It lines up with a  study published last month that links longer work hours with the higher risk of stroke. In fact, this study says that folks who work 55 hours or more a week are 33% more likely to suffer a stroke.

That’s scary math, people. Especially since most Americans work far more than six hours a day. ABC News cites statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics that find, “more than 25 million Americans — 20.5 percent of the total workforce — reported they worked at least 49 hours. Eleven million of those said they worked more than 59 hours a week.”

If the science holds up, that means that 11 million Americans are headed for a stroke. It seems like Sweden has the right idea. And the shorter day is becoming common practice among professionals there.

The online magazine Fast Company, spoke with one of Sweden’s top CEOs about truncating the workday. “I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think,” says Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus. “To stay focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge. . . . In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the workday more endurable.”

Those pauses usually come in the form of huge distractions like Facebook, SnapChat, and cat videos on YouTube. The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure, and these distractions help employees manage possible burnout. In its Wasting Time at Work Survey, Salary.com reported that, “89 percent of respondents admitted that they waste time at work each day. A small percentage even admitted they waste at least half of an eight-hour workday on non-work-related tasks.”

So, why not just cut out all that downtime, get the job done, and get out a little earlier? All that stress and burnout effects our personal life anyway and makes us grumpier individuals. Sweden’s way seems like it would solve a lot of problems for everybody.

Packing my bags and booking my ticket now.

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[Image via Shutterstock]

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