This month Sweden adopted the six-hour work day after a study proved the shorter working hours increased productivity. So is this something we should be looking to do too?
Nurses at a retirement home in Sweden trialled the six-hour days - importantly while still keeping the eight-hour salary - as part of a Government-funded experiment, and the outcome is exactly what we might have expected.
The decreased working hours show employees are off sick less, have lower stress levels, and actually work harder.
Unsurprisingly, the staff at the retirement home were happier than those at a comparative establishment, worked harder to get the same amount of work done in the two hours less time, and importantly they had more energy to do more while at work - and after work - than they did previously.
And they are not alone. Toyota centres in Gothenburg reported happier staff and a dramatically lower turnover rate - not to mention an increase in profits, when they cut working hours.
Why then, do we insist on eight hour - or longer - working days, when the proof is there that shorter days are better for the business and the staff we employ? Surely bosses want more productivity, increased profits, and a happier workforce?
Boosting employees' morale and retaining staff is an important part of having a successful business. A motivated employee will treat their customers and clients well, which in turn makes them content and more likely to return for repeat business. Simple, yet effective business management.
"If the employees come first, then they're happy. A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy so they keep coming back, which pleases the shareholders.
It's not one of the enduring green mysteries of all time, it is just the way it works"
- Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines
Managers across the UK asked about the possibility of altering working hours, favoured the shorter day because they felt increased leisure time would aid employees' mental and physical well-being, and boost creativity.
The six-hour working day comes on the back of other reports that found requiring people to start work before 10am was creating a 'sleep-deprived' society, which made employees exhausted and stressed.
In 2009, Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside ran a pilot scheme where the school started at 10am rather than the traditional 9am - and found the later start improved grades in core subjects by 19 per cent.
Change is often seen as a negative thing and at Blackswan we're always encouraging businesses to give change a chance.
The evidence may prove that shorter hours at higher productivity is more effective - but that doesn't necessarily mean your boss is going to agree to it...
Historically the eight-hour working day was designed to offer the right work-life balance, but research now suggests a cultural change to a six-hour day is needed.
Some employers in Britain have already adopted the shorter days with many reporting positive results. Maybe it's time your business gave it a go?
Celebrating women in business this International Women’s Day