Experimenting with the six hour working day

A Swedish retirement home may seem an unlikely setting for an experiment about the future of work, but a small group of elderly-care nurses in Sweden have made radical changes to their daily lives in an effort to improve quality and efficiency.
In February the nurses switched from an eight-hour to a six-hour working day for the same wage – the first controlled trial of shorter hours since a rightward political shift in Sweden a decade ago snuffed out earlier efforts to explore alternatives to the traditional working week.

At Svartedalens, the trial is viewed as a success, even if, with an extra 14 members of staff hired to cope with the shorter hours and new shift patterns, it is costing the council money. Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, head of elderly care at the home, says staff wellbeing is better and the standard of care is even higher.

And Svartedalens isn’t the first comany to try this, Toyota and Brath have also had great success, proving that a convential eight hour day doesn’t necesessarily mean better output or a higher quality of work.

Via The Guardian: Efficiency up, turnover down: Sweden experiments with six-hour working day

Two years

Wow, my two year anniversary at Automattic just passed, and I didn’t even notice, someone had to point it out to me. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon.

I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some of the smartest people in the industry from all across the globe. It’s both comforting and rewarding to think back on my time, about things I’ve worked on have had an impact on the WordPress community and the web in general, and that the people I’ve crossed paths with have benefited from that interaction- at least that’s my hope. Unless they were a spammer, then all bets are off.. 🙂

So I guess it’s true what they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

A call to arms

It’s Sunday. Evening here, quite a lot of us are usually out of pocket, doing other things. Most of our distributed teams are offline, but as the sun crests the opposite side of the globe and Monday awakens, a problem is discovered. This particular issue seems grave at first sight, an alarm is raised, and almost immediately grey dots in Slack1 started turning to green.

I won’t get into the details of what happened, why, how it was fixed and whether or not a massive ticker tape parade followed this event (because it didn’t) but I will say that I’m truly proud to be amongst a group of folks that are so passionate about what they work on, that they continually monitor for issues and jump online to lend a hand at a moments notice.

No names given, teams mentioned, but huge kudos. Ya’ll know who you are. Well done.


Footnotes

  1. If you’re not familiar with Slack, it’s an internal realtime communication tool we use internally at Automattic, basically instant messaging across a huge group of people broken into teams.

Working from a sandbar

November just isn’t acting like November today. It’s seventy degrees outside, bright and the sun is shining. Seems like such a waste to stay cooped up indoors since it has been cold lately and more inclimate weather is on the way in coming days. If you’re north of me, sorry.

So, after a nice four and a half mile hike up the beach, I came upon todays office: a sandbar overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

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I’ll be here until my batteries die, or the high tide forces me to relocate. The tide thing may be happening sooner than I had expected..

Morning commute

Since I work for a distributed company, there’s not much of a morning commute. Usually it involves me coming downstairs, making some coffee and finding a comfortable nook in the house to work in. On occasion I venture outside to a local coffee shop or library, but for the most part I just work at home. It’s comfortable, my stuff is there and it’s easy to become complacent.

This week I’ve decided to get out of the house more often, winter is coming afterall, and the likelihood of doing much outdoorsy stuff once it gets cold is relatively slim. And since I can work anywhere on the planet as long as there’s an internet connection, why not take advantage if it?

So, here’s what my commute has been looking like this week:

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It’s about a ten minute hike to a secluded nature preserve near my place, where the only thing I have to worry about is moving my chair back when the tide comes in.

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The view is spectacular, the environment peaceful and I feel more encouraged to write. Er, I mean work.

My brother is now working @instrument

My brother Jason just started working for Instrument in Portland OR (which is pretty much the furthest away he could go without leaving the continental United States). He sent this picture last night .. they have a friggin teepee in their office. Yes, a teepee:

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We’ve done some cool things in the Automattic Hawthorne office space, like inflate a weather balloon for sound reduction, created a t-shirt museum and had Google do a streetview of our interior. But we lack a teepee. Need this ASAP. 😉