Weather working hours have increased in many nations, Iceland has been quietly testing a four-day work week to see how it affected the population. This week, the results were received.
Two trials took place between 2015 and 2019, involving 2,500 public sector workers (approximately one percent of Iceland’s workforce). Participants received the same salary, and most stuffed 35 hours in four days, instead of 40 hours in five.
Analysis of the trials found that productivity levels remained the same or increased. Employees reported that they felt healthier, less stressed, and had more time with loved ones.
“The world’s largest test of a shorter workweek in the public sector was, in every way, an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, research director at Autonomy, the UK think tank behind the analysis. “It shows that the public sector is ready to pioneer shorter workweeks; lessons can be learned for other governments ”.
The tests were so successful, Autonomy said, that 86 percent of Iceland’s workforce now works fewer hours, or will soon gain the right to do so. Spain recently announced plans to test a four-day workweek.
Picture: Tom podmore