I have now heard about several different businesses based in Sweden which are trying out a shorter working day. So far as I can tell, it works on the basis of being present for fewer hours in the office but in return agreeing to sacrifice some of the potential 'time wasters' such as social media and the 'chat around the water cooler'.

I can certainly see how this type of arrangement will incentivise some staff and encourage real productivity, loyalty and engagement. However, for others, I suspect it may be those little chats and interactions with colleagues and social media that make the day bearable!

In practice it may also be easier to implement initially in more nimble small businesses or at the opposite end the giants who can spread resources more evenly. Accordingly, it will surely suit some but not others.

Either way, I take my hat off to the Swedes for trying this sort of thing out. It is certainly no coincidence that when we think of progressive employment models (especially in terms of equality) it is Sweden which crops up time and time again. I also imagine it is the sort of thing Mr Branson might like!