Comment: It’s a shame we’ll (probs) never have 6-hour working days

In the winter months, it can feel like you never see the sun.

You leave for work in the morning and it's dark out, and by the time you commute home, the night sky has fallen.

In these instances, it feels like you're never going to see the light of day again. So, you come home, flop on the couch and that's basically your entire week.

Pretty sh*t, right?

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However, in Sweden, over the past two years, the employed population has been trialling six-hour working days. Whether you're a writer, a nurse, or in a business start-up, various companies implemented the rule.

And the outcome? Unsurprisingly, it led to employees feeling happier, healthier and more focused on their job.

Employees were still given the same wage despite the reduction in hours, but they made up for it in productivity.

A nurse from Sweden told The Guardian that after reducing her hours, she saw a huge difference in her day-to-day mood and energy levels.

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"I used to be exhausted all the time. I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa. But not now. 

"I am much more alert; I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life."

With the final results of the experiment being published next month, the preliminary findings saw that there was a 10 per cent reduction in sick leave over the last two years, 50 per cent felt healthier from the change and 20 per cent felt happier.

The thing is though, it might be some time before we see this in Ireland. While the majority of the workforce in Sweden were happier as a result of the change, it also saw a bit of backlash.

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The trial saw employers hiring more people to fill in for the hours lost, and obviously, it was an expensive trial to conduct.

In Ireland, the average working day is 8.5 hours (if not longer), however last year, according to The Irish Times, union officials said that a 30-hour week would not be a target in our future.

It's a shame because there's so much more to life than work.

How many of us are knackered by the time we come home? Or so stressed out by the long hours that we snap at loved ones? Sometimes you have to ask yourself if it is worth it; but then again, you're lucky to have a job when nearly 10 per cent of the population is out of work and struggling.

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It's the simple things like having more family time, being more socially active and having a few hours a day for yourself, that are missed in society and they would be openly welcomed by many.

Hopefully one day, Ireland will be on its way to reduced working hours and higher salaries for all, but until then, we'll just have to cross our fingers and our toes and just about everything else…

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