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Iceland Experiments With Four-day Workweek: “No Drop-In Productivity And More Welfare”

Work less but produce more, and above all, feel better. If this sounds like a contradictory sentence, more and more companies around the world are deciding to do something concrete to reduce the workload of the people, getting involved and experimenting without losing profit.

Following the Japanese government’s recommendations to businesses regarding the adoption of the four-day work week, another country has embarked on this path. This is Iceland, where it was decided to give thousands of workers an extra day of rest per week, without losing sight of the issue of productivity.

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image credit: McKay Savage/Wikimedia

More than 2,500 employees, at different workplaces, have participated in the initiative requested by the Icelandic national government and the municipal administration of the capital, Reykjavik. For them, the workweek has been reduced from 40 to 35 hours, with no change in the salary received. This is one of the biggest attempts ever in this direction.

A think tank made up of British experts and an Icelandic association analyzed the situation. The studies looked at different periods during which workers performed their activities in a reduced form compared to the standard of 40 hours, spread over a period of four years. Against any prejudice or expectation, the reduction in hours has not resulted in a loss of productivity or quality of service.

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image credit: HP Germany / Flickr

Work teams, which have less weight and pressure on their shoulders, are less tired, which promotes personal well-being and peace of mind. Going out, exercising, or just resting – all of which an extra day of rest per week is precious, to say the least.

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image credit: Pixabay

Those who work a regular schedule know that time off never seems enough to recover from accumulated fatigue. “This is a crucial project,” said the researchers involved, “it shows that the public sector is ripe to pave the way for shorter work weeks, and it can serve as an example for other governments.”

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image credit: Commander/Flickr

It only remains to wait and see the evolution of this initiative. And what do you think? Can a reduction in working time help people feel better without losing productivity?

Source used:

https://autonomy.work/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ICELAND_4DW.pdf

The Independent

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