In Iceland they carried out an experiment. From 2015 to 2019, 2,500 people (equal to 1% of the inhabitants) participated in a very ambitious project: to reduce working time without reducing wages. Public sector employees, with different profiles and working in different sectors (schools, hospitals, social and administrative services), worked 4 days a week following their working hours, not necessarily during the day.

Objective

Analyse positive changes in professional and personal life.

How it was achieved

Communication mainly via emails, reduced time of breaks and daily activities redistributed in order to optimize the available time.

Results

The results speak for themselves. In 4 years, participants’ productivity and well-being have increased, while stress and risk of burn-out has decreased considerably.

The results show that the 2,500 workers involved used their free time to recover their energy, to spend more time with their families, or to practise their hobbies. This has led unions to renegotiate employment contracts and now 86% of Icelandic employees have chosen to work less for the same salary.

Benefits

A marked improvement in the quality of life has been noticed. In fact, it is often the work environment that increases states of anxiety and malaise.

This research could be replicated in the UK, because, according to a survey, 63% of the population would be in favour. In addition, 45 deputies voted a motion to ask the government to study this proposal.

Would you like to work 4 days a week? I think this is an inspiring model to be exported without hesitation!

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Working Week – Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com