Swedish design efficiency sends Swedes to the toilet

Micael Dahlen, professor of marketing at the Stockholm School of Economics, regaled delegates to the IFS user conference in Gothenburg with many an amusing tale.

One such is an unintended consequence of Swedish economic efficiency. Apparently, Swedish businesses have designed their workflows so smartly that employees are faking going to the toilet. Waterflow sensors have been paying mute testimony to the fact that when Swedes say: “I’m off to the toilet”, they are not putting that time to defecatory use.

Two-thirds of our Swedish cousins would rather retire to the WC than stare at their desks when there is, indeed, no more work to be done, says Dahlen.

Has this phenomenon reached the UK? Are we still so inefficient that our work is never done? Or does traditional British reserve dictate that we would never declare such trips in the first place?

Dahlen reads this phenomenon as a sign that humans should take the achieving of fun much more seriously. The pursuit of efficiency is leaving us with nothing to do but stage fake visits to the toilet.

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