Danish company shifts to six-hour work days
The Danish translation firm Translated By Us has become one of the very first companies in Denmark to challenge the traditional view of how many hours employees should be working every day.
Instead of the typical 9-to-5 working day, employees at the company can enjoy going to work just six hours a day from 09:30 to 15:30 as part of a 30-hour working week.
“It’s a liberal and cool leadership evaluation and not a hippie experiment,” Mads Blücher, the CEO of Translated By Us, told Berlingske newspaper.
“But I do believe that it creates more productivity, better leadership and a quicker ability to let go of employees who don’t perform.”
Blücher is backed by the firm’s sales director and co-owner, Jacob Vesterkjær, whose previous experience with shipping giant Maersk – where longer working days are part and parcel of employment there – made him sceptical of a six-hour working day. But he can already see the results.
“I have to admit that I produce more,” Vesterkjær told Berlingske. “I call more customers during the day and I’m generally happier when I call them.”
Denmark already has some of the lowest weekly working hours in the world. An OECD report from 2014 showed the Danes work an average 27.62 hours per week.
And that’s one of the reasons why the confederation of Danish industry, Dansk Industri, is among the detractors for implementing a six-hour working day.
“If we had a very long working day in Denmark, there could be something gained by it, but we already have a very short working day,” Steen Nielsen, the deputy head of Dansk Industri, told Berlingske.