Iceland massively goes to a 4-day working week


A large-scale five-year study of the four-day working week showed that the reduction of the weekly load even only four to five hours not only positively affects the mental and physical well-being of workers, but also leads to a significant increase in productivity.

Studies for assessing the consequences of the working week’s reduction were carried out in several countries and took various forms, from a shortened working day throughout the week to a four-day week with the same number of working hours. Icelandic study, which was attended by 2,500 people employed in various fields of activity, shows how widely the short-term working week can be applied,

The experiment, the initiator of which was the city council Reykjavik, began with a pair of dozens of employees who were offered to save payment in 40 hours, but only 35-36 hours a week work. Preliminary results have demonstrated the benefits of this approach, and in subsequent years this experience was adopted in other institutions, including schools, hospitals and law enforcement agencies.

In this case, the participants could choose the individual way of reducing hours of work. Some took half a day weekend once a week, others rested three days every second week. To preserve productivity, organizations had to change the internal processes. This led to short-term, more express meetings and the emergence of new work strategies. Even the police saw advantages in changing the usual work scheme shift.

«In the police station, the investigators had abbreviated hours every second week, so employees went home an hour earlier from Monday to Thursday (from 08:00 to 15:00), and for four hours — on Friday (from 08:00 to 12 : 00), — the report says. «Next week they worked longer (from 08:00 to 16:00).»

There is nothing surprising in the fact that people like working less, however, the data collected in the majority of the rich countries of Europe show that labor productivity per hour falls with increasing hours of operation. This process works in the opposite direction, so that the correlation arises between the growth of labor efficiency and the reduction in time spent.

«This study shows that the world’s largest experiment with a shortened working week in the public sector in the public sector turned out to be successful in the public sector,» said Will Strong, director of research in AUTONOMY, a British organization who analyzed data. — It demonstrates that the public sector matured to become a pioneer of the shortened working week — and this lesson can be useful to the governments of other countries. «

The report notes that the key to the successful implementation of this experience is flexibility in performing tasks, drawing up graphics and shifts, combined with interest in the process. The results turned out to be so impressive that at the end of the experiment 86% of all workers of Iceland or had already moved to such a scheme, or they were able to do it at any time in the future.

In January 2020.

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