Ignore the headlines: A six-hour working day is the way forward

The preliminary results show that a shorter working day lowered sick leave by 10%. Also, the perceived health of the care workers increased considerably in relation to stress and alertness. This was especially apparent in child-caring age groups. Having longer to recuperate and spend time with family is evidently an important factor in creating a sustainable work-life balance.

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Residents in the care home also felt they were getting better care and more time with the nurses. In interviews they described staff as more alert and happier. Social activities dramatically increased too, meaning that the higher level of alertness is being put to good use by the staff.

Employing more care workers amounts to approximately a 20% increase in costs; a staggering amount at first glance. But unemployment, poor working conditions, early retirement and sick leave are hugely expensive to society. But some of the cost of employing the new care workers is offset by lower payments from the social security system, and the net increase in cost drops to approximately 10%. It is worth noticing that the calculation still doesn’t take into account any long-term effects, which are sure to lower the total even further.

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