A year-long experiment with a four-day working week in Iceland has been so overwhelmingly successful that the majority of the country’s workforce now works less.
It shows a new report prepared by the British think tank Autonomy and the Icelandic Association for Sustainable Democracy according to the BBC.
The experiment took place between 2015 and 2019. Here, workers were paid the same to work fewer hours.
The result was that productivity remained the same in the vast majority of the workplaces that took part in the experiment, while in some places it even increased.
The experiment, run by the government and city council of the capital Reykjavík, eventually included over 2,500 workers. According to the BBC, this corresponds to one percent of Iceland’s workforce.
Many of them went from working 40 hours five days a week to working between 35 and 36 hours four days a week.
Less stress and less burnout
According to the researchers behind the study, this led to the workers feeling less stressed and at less risk of burning out. Many also reported that their health and work-life balance had improved.
The results have since prompted several of Iceland’s largest unions to renegotiate their collective bargaining agreements, and today 86 per cent of Iceland’s workforce has either already moved to a shorter working week for the same pay or is on the way to gaining the right to it.
According to the BBC, head of research at Autonomy, Will Stronge, said the experiment was an ‘overwhelming success’ in every way.
“It shows that the public sector is ripe to be the banner bearer for shorter working weeks. Other governments can learn from this, “he said.
A four-day working week is already something that several companies are trying out in Denmark. Spain and New Zealand are also exploring the possibility of making people work less.
Several reports have previously suggested that shorter working weeks may also help reduce countries’ CO2 emissions.
Source: Politiken.dk – Forsiden by politiken.dk.
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