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Why This Country is Calling For a Six-Hour Workday

The ministers’ approach to work/life balance is a lesson for other countries.

Top officials in Finland are renewing calls to adopt the six-hour workday as well as similar measures that aim to promote a better work/life balance for Finnish employees.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin raised the idea of shortening the traditional eight-hour shift to just six hours when she urged her party to reconsider alternative working arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to create a clear vision and concrete steps as to how Finland can proceed towards shorter working hours and Finnish employees towards better working life,” said Marin, who championed the cause prior to becoming prime minister.

Marin believes a six-hour workday could spark greater productivity among workers, and that the arrangement would not hamper Finland’s public finances or its goal of raising employment to at least 75%, Reuters reported.

“The wealth brought about by the increase in labour productivity has to be split not only between owners and investors but also [between] ordinary employees,” Marin said.

Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, the country’s social affairs and health minister, shared Marin’s sentiments, tweeting: “The effects of a shorter work week could be positive especially in the care sector.”

“We should trial not only six-hour workdays, but also other ways to reduce working hours such as a four-day work week. The key in the trial should be to examine the effects of shorter working hours on labour productivity, sick leave and employee well-being,” she said.

Pekonen is asking the Finnish government to set aside funding to improve not only the country’s employment situation but also the quality of life in the workplace.

The government should therefore revaluate the impact of a shorter workday on the well-being and longevity of employees as well as on the country’s job creation programs, she said.

Finland has long enjoyed a reputation for having one of the best working conditions in Europe. In a 2017 study, the country emerged as the fourth best in the region in terms of work/life balance.

Finnish employees are said to devote an average of eight hours a day to leisure; 7.2 hours a day to staying in bed; and 1.5 hours to miscellaneous activities.

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Suzanne Mussillon
With over 20 years’ experience in business, Sue has established a solid reputation as not only a leader, but as someone who is dedicated to uplifting others in their pursuits. She proudly supports local organisations and community groups, fostering strong connections with honesty and integrity. Her career has expanded many diverse and interesting paths, having previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry and in peer support. Along with her years of diverse career experience, it was Sue’s real life connections to the people and business of Canberra and beyond that made her a natural choice to be appointed as Coceptive Recruitment’s Managing Director. If her surname sounds familiar it may be because of a family member with an equally impressive résumé. Her brother is one of Canberra’s award winning fine-dining chefs. Despite having a famous relative, Sue wasn’t born with a silver-spoon in her mouth. She believes in hard work and making genuine connections as the keys to business and personal success.

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