The Icelanders tried to work shorter and it paid off: they get the same salary

Trials of public sector employees working shorter hours, from 35 to 36 hours instead of 40, took place in Iceland between 2015 and 2019.

They were carried out by the Icelandic National Government, Reykjavik City Council, analyzed by the “Brain Center” Autonomy and the research organization Sustainable Democracy Association, which advocated a shorter working week.

According to the test data, the well-being of employees changed dramatically during their working hours: shorter working hours affected the experienced stress, burnout levels, health, work-life balance.

2.5 thousand people took part in the tests. people – more than 1 percent. part of the working population in Iceland. During them, employees had to strive to maintain or increase productivity at work, but at the same time – to improve work-life balance.

According to the study, the productivity of most employees remained unchanged or improved.

These results have prompted Icelandic unions to initiate negotiations to reduce working hours to tens of thousands of their members across the country.

According to Autonomy and the Association for Sustainable Democracy, 86% all Icelandic workers now work shorter hours or have the opportunity to shorten their working week.

Arno Strumila / 15min photo / Construction works

According to Will Stronge, director of Autonomy, the trials with public sector employees were “very successful in all respects.”

“This shows that the public sector is ripe for pioneering shorter working weeks – and other governments can learn from it,” he commented.

Daiga Kamerade, an associate professor at the University of Salford in the UK, believes the test results may have been affected by working conditions, meaning that they may be better in the public sector than in the private sector.

“Reducing the number of hours in a work week from 40 to 35 or 36 is the first step in trying to reduce the time worked in general. We need more similar large-scale research to encourage this, for example, to see what it would be like to work four days a week, that is, 32 hours or less, ”the researcher commented on CNN.

We need more similar large-scale research.

She told herself that she had conducted a study with the team regarding shorter working hours. It turned out that by working shorter, people feel freer and more in control of their lives, which also improves their overall well-being.

More and more small companies are allowing their employees to work shorter, and now larger corporations are exploring the potential benefits of such a change.

Following a change in work habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Unilever New Zealand announced in January attempts to introduce a four-day work week without reducing pay.

Microsoft tested the four-day work week in Japan in 2019. According to her, employee productivity in terms of sales increased by almost 40 percent. compared to the same period last year.

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