A new study is being welcomed the world over after claiming six-hour work days could not only create happier and healthier employees – they could save companies considerable money too.
The research was conducted during a two-year pilot scheme at the Svartedalen residential care home, where shifts were reduced from eight hours to six.
An initial study suggested the pilot had not been cost effective – while employees felt healthier, the city was forced to hire 17 additional workers at a cost of 12 million kronor (NZ$1.9 million).
Gothenburg – the Swedish city which commissioned the pilot – chose not to extend the experiment, insisting it was too expensive to sustain. However, researchers have since spoken out about the study and claim there are hidden savings which the initial experiment overlooked.
According to the study, nurses took 4.7 per cent fewer sick days after the shorter shifts were introduced and less unexpected time off too.
“[The nurses] were less tired, less sick, had more energy coming home and more time to do activities,” lead researcher Bengt Lorentzon told Bloomberg.
While the study didn’t run long enough to full measure health effects of shorter days, Lorentzon said the research suggests nurses working fewer hours will experience permanent benefits, resulting in savings.
“The satisfactory blood pressure is slightly lower for nurses at Svartedalens and the reference facility in comparison to the normal value for all professional women,” the study found.
Lorentzon also said the study failed to acknowledge how the quality of care provided to patients at the facility improved once nurses were working fewer days.
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