Most employees in the United States could only dream of having a flexible working schedule – one that will allow them to dedicate more time doing the things they truly love and spending more time with family.
In Finland, this dream is set to become a reality.
Sanna Marin, the new Prime Minister of Finland and the youngest female head of government in the world, has called for the introduction of a four-day workweek and six-hour days. The 34-year-old believes that it could be “the next step” in working life.
“I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture,” she said in an interview with NewEurope.
Traditionally, most Fins work for eight hours a day, five days a week. Since 1996, they’ve had the right to start or end work three hours earlier or later.
This initiation of a flexible working schedule in Finland follows the example of their Scandinavian neighbor, Sweden, where a six-hour working day has been experimented since 2015. The adjustment proved to be promising, as statistics showed that employees were more productive, happier, and wealthier.
However, critics worry that implementing a flexible working schedule might harm businesses and halt economic growth.
But Marin’s coalition partner and education minister, Li Andersson, believed that taking this step would be beneficial to workers all over the country.
“It is important to allow Finnish citizens to work less. It is not a question of governing with a feminine style but offering help and keeping promises to voters,” she said.
Marin was elected as Finland’s Prime Minister on December 8, 2019. She heads a five-party, center-left coalition, with three out of its four other members in their early 30s.
She attended Tampere University and became the first-ever person in her family to graduate. After finishing school, she quickly took her place in Finnish politics, being elected as the city council head at the age of 27.
The Social Democratic Party leader has a 22-month-old daughter with her partner, Markus Räikkönen. She is seen as a politician that the younger generation will appreciate and relate to because of her candid use of Instagram. There, she posts ‘unpolished’ photos of herself doing what any regular citizen does.
Do you think this type of flexible working schedule will work in the United States?