Saturday, January 9, 2016

Reduced working time in Sweden

In Sweden, a six-hour working day policy is to be introduced. Some companies including Toyota centers in Gothenburg, have already adopted this change. It made the staffs happier, and brought lowered turnover rate, according to the media.

Independent: Sweden introduces six-hour work day

In this article above, it is not sure whether six-hour working is going to be obligated by the law. But many employers seem to have recognized the advantage of shorter work time. In addition, shorter work time will lead to the spread of shared work, which can contribute to reducing the unemployment rate.

This attempt is not an innovation. Kellogg introduced the reduced and shifted working time previously. Unfortunately, it was not so successfully done.

My past entry: Working from noon to 6 o’clock

In my feeling, eight-hour work is tough in some jobs. Concentration cannot be maintained for a long time. Some people feel tired after long-hour work, even if just after taking a short break. Being busy for a long time gets rid of creative sense.

However, there are some points to be considered regarding this issue. First, it is difficult for some skilled works to be shared with other people. Medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, and school teachers are licensed jobs. Thus, alternative workers are hardly found. Furthermore, if your physician in charge disappears at 15 o’clock during a conversation with you and another one come up as night shift, you will be annoyed, aren’t you? In Sweden, six-hour work has been introduced in some hospitals, actually. I wonder how they can keep the quality of the work with decreased expert staffs.

Second, as a result of shorter work, service responsiveness will be sacrificed, more or less. Customers should be patient when they cannot get the contact with a service provider at twilight. I think many Japanese cannot accept this inconvenience because Japanese customers are the most demanding of the world.

Third, it is unrealistic to reduce the work time in some jobs. Creators, consultants, and stock traders take no rest regardless of the time. If there is a need, or business chance, they are willing to work. It means that other workers in the similar sector will lose the opportunity to gain profit if they do not commit overwork. It is difficult to regulate the excessive working legally. As a result, the situation will never change.

In conclusion, reduced work time policy will be effective for a better quality of life of the employees, and partially improve the productivity. But this efficacy will be limited to some kind of jobs.

1 comment:

  1. "The situation will never change"? Nevermind it DID change in N.America and Europe for over 100 years. USA cut the workweek in half from over 80 hours in 1840 to 40 in 1940 and the rest of these two continents similarly. And guess where many Asians are now moving. And we have over 100 years of experience in doing this, with some job categories claiming, every step of the way, that they are too special or needed or important to be able to cut their hours. In the age of robotization, it is a economic-system requirement that diminishing market-demanded human employment be spread as widely as possible, simply because 10,000 people with $10,000 apiece will spend it a lot faster and generate a lot more stabilizing circulation momentum than 1 person with $100,000,000. Yet we are allowing money to funnel into storage and out of circulation to the tiny population of super-rich by keep a pre-robotics workweek forever, downsizing the workforce to keep it, and thereby downsizing markets for the huge output of those fast-multiplying robots. More on