While not all that is said is true, not all that is truth is told.
In the United States, labor laws, especially those that benefit workers are fiercely fought by corporate America. Child labor, paid maternity leave, minimum wage, workplace safety and the likes, always become a movement before they become laws. By Fernando Andres Torres. LatinOpen.
A California company reduces the workday to six hours
Berkeley. February 7, 2017.- Emulating a two-year pilot plan in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, to reduce the eight-hour work day, a Berkeley company has implemented a six-hour work day, becoming one of the few companies in the United States to do so.
Founder and CEO of Accent on Languages and Berkeley Language Institute, Francine Kuipers said the labor experiment in Gothenburg, the second largest Swedish city, which coincidentally ended this month has “found strong evidence that scheduling in this manner boost productivity and morale while lowering staff turnover and stress.”
To increase workers’ performance and improve their wellbeing, some Swedish companies, including hospitals, car and tech companies, and retirement homes, have made the change in a period that is still being evaluated by labor scientists.
“We are proud to embrace this new system for organizing our workdays, and are optimistic about its effects … to improve our work environment and offer our employees an opportunity to have more free time for their family and activities,” said Kuipers, whose company employs six full-time workers.
Kuipers move can be risky. Nevertheless “we want to start a movement and hopefully inspire others to do the same,” she said in a press communique released today. In the United States, labor laws, especially those that benefit workers are fiercely fought by corporate America. Child labor, paid maternity leave, minimum wage, workplace safety and the likes, always become a movement before they become laws.
According to press reports, the price tag of the six-hour work day is high and fearing the costs Gothenburg city officials won’t make the reduction permanent. But the benefits were considerable; workers’ health improved by 50 %, reducing sick leave rates by 10 %. Employees felt healthier and their contentment with the job improved. A final report is expected to be released in March.
The Guardian reported that Gothenburg council member Daniel Bernmar who supported the trial, denied that the experiment failed. “It still remains to be seen whether the economic costs of reduced working hours outweigh the benefits. The costs of the trial for the public economy were actually half of what we thought they would be,” he explained to the Guardian.
“We keep a close watch for innovations in other countries. The findings are consistent with more general studies that have shown dramatic reduction in concentration and memory after six hours of work. We are hoping that other companies and institutions will look into implementing a similar work structure to improve the health and well-being of their employees and their enterprises,” Kuipers said.
In another interview for The Independent, Bernmar said “the richer we become, the more we need to take advantage of that wealth in other ways than through a newer car or higher consumption.”
In an op-ed published last year in Business Insider, the owner of Tower Paddle Boards, Stephan Aarstol wrote his company has changed its workday to a five-hour. Since then, the small San Diego company, with a staff of nine, has claimed “the results have been astounding… The 9-to-5 is so ingrained in their minds that they can’t imagine anything else. But you can reduce your hours by 30% and maintain the same level of productivity,” wrote Aarstol.