Reports on the concept of six hour days in Sweden recently caught the attention of employers and employees across the globe.

But a career coach believes that such a practice might not necessarily make the nation an utopia.

“The first thing I thought when I heard about six-hour days was ‘what are they going to do with their time?’” Pia Webb, a career coach, told BBC.

Webb revealed that it is a very Swedish problem for locals to feel stressed out trying to take their kids to all these activities, to exercise, to make homemade food etc now that most people are finishing work by 4 or 5 pm.

“In theory we have this work-life balance but, actually, we’re not very good at sitting around and doing nothing,” she said.

That is alarming news to most Hong Kongers who are begging for the luxury to have the Swedish problem.

ALSO READ: Sweden experiments with a 6-hour workday

Across Sweden, only around 1% of employees work more than 50 hours a week, where in Hong Kong 50 hours is the average working hour for everyone.

To limit working hours,  Swedish are given 25 vacation days by law, while many large firms typically offer even more.

Parents get 480 days of paid parental leave to split between them.  Most offices are empty after 5pm.

While locals seem stressed out about the short hours, expatiates are enjoying it a lot.

“It’s a very different experience to when I worked in the UK and clients wanted to stay in touch on weekends and during the evening,”  Ameek Grewal, who relocated from London to Citibank’s Nordic headquarters in Stockholm last year told BBC.

While time is money in the financial world and putting clients on hold is considered a sin Grewal is convinced that the Swedish model brings far greater benefits than drawbacks.

“Here there is a mutual respect. I’ll wait until office hours to call or email my customers and at the same time I know I won’t be phoned when I’m on holiday,” he said.

ALSO READ: Bosses in Hong Kong say staff are wasting time doing personal chores at work

Image: Shutterstock

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