Council staff in the Swedish city of Gothenburg are piloting a six-hour workday scheme with an aim to reduce sick leave and improve productivity.

In the pilot scheme, staff at one municipal department will work a reduced six hours per day, 30 hours per week, with staff at a second “control” department working full 40-hour weeks. Most importantly, however, staff in both groups will be paid the same amount.

The council will then be able to compare which of the two groups was more productive and better value for money for the country.

This trial follows a successful trial of a six-hour workday at a Gothenburg car factory, and data from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) that suggests that shorter working hours produces greater productivity, likely due to reduced stress and better mental health.

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