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By Christoph Ono, builder at GBKS, and tweetable at @GBKS.

Sweden’s proposed six-hour workday


I moved from the US (high on the list) to the Netherlands (bottom of the list) a while ago. Different jobs and sectors vary, but the theme I can confirm is that the Dutch feel more productive, generally (I work in software development). In very broad terms, the Dutch are more likely to plan and stick to those plans. Personal time and time off are valued, so you need to be efficient in your working hours. You can't really expect someone to respond to your emails after working hours. Having to work in the weekends at all is a sign of bad project management, and should be exceptional. Meetings have agendas which are sent out ahead of time. Americans are generally more optimistic, which makes for worse time management and planning, which leads to overtime and stress. Being seen at work somehow equals working, and internal guilt for not working efficiently while at work leads to more weekend work. There's a big focus how much you've 'worked' this week. Interruption is common for things which could be structured. To be honest, it's been pretty difficult to adjust, but the payoff is huge. Actual free time after work, real weekends, and longer vacations are all possible because people plan... whereas friends back home are often unable to plan vacations because they/their boss don't know how busy they'll be in 5 months.