Two-thirds of Irish want a shorter working day

As Sweden trials highlight the benefits of a six-hour day...

The majority of Irish people are not satisfied with the length of their working day, new research has revealed.

According to an iReach study, 66% of workers feel their day is too long and would favour fewer hours.

Most people work an average eight-hour day but believe their productivity would increase if this was reduced by around two hours.

The study also found that women were more in favour a shorter day than men.

Over the past number of years, Sweden has started moving towards a standard six-hour work day, measuring any potential benefits to not only people's mental and physical wellbeing but also a company's productivity.

For the past year, nurses at the Svartedalens retirement home have worked six hours a day (with their eight-hour salary intact) as part of an experimental trial.

Results have shown that, when compared with a control group in a similar facility, the 68 Svartedalens nurses took half as much sick time as those in the control group.

They were also 2.8 times less likely to take any time off in a two-week period.

Gothenburg-based Toyota service centres adopted the six-hour day 14 years ago and reported happier employees, a 25% profit increase, lower staff turnover rates and greater ease in hiring new staff.

Stockholm app developer Filimundus introduced the hours in 2014.

Speaking to Fast Company last year, CEO Linus Feldt said:

"I think the eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. 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 work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work...

"My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office".

In August 2015, a University College London review of 25 studies involving more than 600,000 workers found that people who worked 55 hours or more per week had a 33% greater risk of stroke than those on 35-40 hours. There was also a 13% increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.