See what Swedish researchers found when they let a group of nurses work 6-hour shifts instead of 8.

Sweden has built quite a reputation in the modern world.

The country has been admired and nitpicked on topics ranging from their furniture to their relative egalitarianism. (Don't lose it! Please!)


GIF via GQ/YouTube.

And with a recent experiment, Sweden has a lot of the developed world craning their necks to see what happens next.

Swedish researchers have been studying the effects of paying people the same amount of money to work fewer hours.

Nurses at Svartedalens nursing home in Gothenburg (Sweden's second largest city) worked six hours a day for the same pay they received for eight hours. They were compared to a control group working standard eight-hour shifts in a different facility. According to reporting by The Guardian, the experiment was quite the success.

Here are five things to know about the six-hour workday:

1. It can make people happier and healthier.

GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

Working fewer hours gives people more time to spend with loved ones and to take care of themselves. Plus, the Harvard Business Review says you're not doing yourself any favors if you work so much that you're losing sleep over it. Overwork could put you on a treadmill of underperformance.

Lise-Lotte Pettersson, a nurse at Svartedelans who participated in the experiment, told The Guardian that she felt able to handle more of what life needed from her. "I used to be exhausted all the time. ... But not now. ... I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life."

2. It can kick productivity into overdrive.


GIF from "Bruce Almighty."

It takes time to settle into a six-hour workday, but when it's on, it's on.

Linus Feldt cut his tech company's workday to six hours in 2014, and he says his team has gotten more focused. He told The Guardian he believes "time is more valuable than money" and that more personal time can motivate people to work efficiently and without dampening quality.

Now there's research to back up Feldt's suspicions. A work study out of Stanford University found that "increases in output as hours rise beyond 50 in a week are relatively small." And there's no productivity difference between 55 and 70 hours.

3. It's a hell of a recruiting tool.

GIF from "The Great Gatsby."

Reduced work hours offer the work-life balance that a lot of professionals want — sometimes more than money. That's what Maria Bråth, CEO of a Swedish Internet startup, has learned since she started the six-hour workday in 2012.

Bråth believes people are a company's most valuable resource and keeping them happy is important. She thinks a six-hour workday can go a long way toward that end. "It has a lot to do with the fact that we are very creative," she told The Guardian. "We couldn't keep it up for eight hours."

4. It puts people in jobs and money in their pockets.

GIF from "Chappelle's Show."

A lot of companies can't cut their workdays without having to hire more people because otherwise work would get left on the table. So if we're looking purely at job availability, a six-hour workday isn't a bad way to boost employment.

Svartedalens hired 14 new people to make up for the staffing shortfall created by the reduced workday. It cost the facility $1 million, but as a state-owned nursing home, revenue isn't a key concern. And what they gained in employee happiness and quality of care for their patients was priceless.

That brings us to our final learning.

5. It can be profitable for businesses.

GIF from "Eastbound & Down."

Gothenburg's Toyota service centers have used six-hour workdays since 2002, and they never looked back. In addition to all of the above being true of their experience, Martin Banck, the managing director who started the policy, told The Guardian they've since enjoyed a 25% increase in profits.

Sweden isn't the first country to experiment with a six-hour workday, and hopefully it won't be the last.

One early adopter was an American company in the thick of the Great Depression. Kellogg's Michigan-based cereal plant swapped its three eight-hour shifts for four six-hour shifts after founder W.K. Kellogg heard about the possible productivity gains.

The company ended up hiring hundreds of people who desperately needed jobs, costs went down, productivity rose like gangbusters, and because of all of that, the company was able to shell out the same wages for six hours that it did for eight.

GIF from "Workaholics."

Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, the age of the six-hour workday came to an end more than half a century later because Kellogg stopped holding the line on the rule and allowed departments to independently decide their work hours.

Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, author of "Kellogg's Six-Hour Days," explains that in the decades after World War II, managers everywhere adopted the view that nonstop work was a sign of progress, forgetting the importance of leisure for health and happiness.

The upside is that Kellogg's proved that a six-hour workday can work. And thanks to the city of Gothenburg and Sweden's other experimental enterprises, we now know it still can.

Six-hour workdays may not fit like a glove for every company or industry, but the principle behind it can apply in any setting.

It all comes down to one simple question: Do we live to work, or do we work to live?

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


Last Christmas, Alex got exactly what he always wanted: a new "robo" arm.

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