Why Iceland’s 4-day work week pilot was “overwhelmingly successful”


According to a large-scale pilot program in Iceland, people who work fewer hours a week are not only happier, but also more productive.

Between 2015 and 2019, the Reykjavík City Council and the Federal Government of Iceland worked with trade unions to test the pros and cons of working four days a week.

Approximately 2,500 workers-more than 1% of the country’s labor force-work 35 to 36 hours a week instead of the standard 40 hours, and wages have not decreased.

“The results are very positive. Workers from all sectors of the public sector are very satisfied with their work-life balance, spend more time with their families, and do more types of extracurricular activities-such as riding a bicycle and cultivating new ones. Hobbies, wait,” researcher Wilstrand told When it happens Guest host Duncan McCull.

“As you might imagine, it was an overwhelming success… from the perspective of the worker, but also from the perspective of the employer.”

Listen | Benefits of working four days a week:

6:34Iceland’s 4-day work week pilot reduces stress and increases productivity

Stronge is the co-director of Autonomy, a British think tank, which compiled the test data with the Icelandic Sustainable Democracy Association.

Participants came from a variety of workplaces, including offices, hospitals, kindergartens and social service agencies. Those who usually work from Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 work four days a week. Others who work in shifts see their working hours being reduced in other ways.

But in general, the result is the same.

In the joint report, Autonomy, and the association found that employees displayed “better happiness, better work-life balance, and a better spirit of cooperation in the workplace-while maintaining existing performance and productivity standards.”

“From my perspective, the most remarkable thing, I think the warmest thing is how much time people have with their families and how they reconnect with their families,” Stronge said.

They have more energy at work and actually like their work better.-Will Stronge, Co-Director of Autonomy Think Tank

Although it is not surprising that people are happier when working hours are reduced, Stronge says employers are also happy.

He said that in the best case, managers report increased productivity. In the worst case, productivity remains stable. More importantly, the experiment has no impact on the employer’s bottom line.

Will Stronge is the co-director of Autonomy, a British think tank. His organization worked with Icelandic researchers to analyze Iceland’s four-day work week pilot program. (Submitted by Will Strong)

Stronge says this is because employees are less likely to experience workplace stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. As a result, they work harder and have fewer sick days.

“They have more energy at work and actually like their work better,” he said. “It sounds very optimistic-but it is the result of a lot of these experiments, that people are actually more attached to the job. In a way, they feel that having more time is rewarded.”

The discovery in Iceland is comparable to other similar experiments around the world.Microsoft Japan tried a four-day work schedule in 2019 Report productivity has increased by 40%. A New Zealand company called Permanent guardian permanent switch In 2018, after increasing its test productivity by 20%, it worked four days a week.

Municipal employees in Gaisborough, Nova Scotia, Conducted a four-day weekly work pilot in 2020 And found it was such a positive experience, they Voted in April to keep the policy.

Governor of British Columbia Said four days recently As the Canadian emerged from the pandemic, his province did not “cancel the work week.”

“I think the conversation around working hours has changed drastically, and we are happy to be a part of it,” Stronge said.

This is what he knew firsthand. At Autonomy, employees work 32 hours a week, which he strongly recommends.


Written by Sheena Goodyear, document from Sarah Jackson.Interview with Will Strong Produced by Niza Liapa Nondo.


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