4-Day Workweek Trial in Iceland Deemed An ‘Overwhelming Success’
If you have ever wished that every weekend could be a 3-day weekend, you’re not alone. Many people start counting the days until the weekend the moment they set foot in the office on Monday morning. The work week can seem so very long, and work life balance can be hard to achieve when there isn’t much time left for family, friends, hobbies and travel with a 5-day workweek.
From 2015 to 2019, 2,500 lucky residents in Iceland got to participate in an experiment run by a U.K. think tank called Autonomy in partnership with Iceland’s Association for Sustainable Democracy (Alda). The experiment was to see what would happen if we had a 4-day workweek instead of a 5-day workweek.
Many of the companies that participated in the experiment cut hours from 40 down to about 35 without cutting pay. In order to trim the hours, companies chose to eliminate things like certain meetings as well as find ways to be more productive in less time.
The experiment turned out to be a success on all accounts. Employees reported that they felt an improvement in their work life balance and in their mental health. They weren’t as stressed out, yet they were just as productive as before if not more so.
Will Stronge is the director of Autonomy, and he believes that this experiment proves “that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments.”
That’s right – “other governments.”
After the experiment, approximately 86% of companies in Iceland switched to a 4-day workweek or are able to do so in the near future. Hopefully this study will inspire other countries (cough, America, cough) to experiment with a 4-day workweek. Watch the video below to hear more benefits of a 4-day workweek and why American companies should seriously consider it.
Does it surprise you that employees are equally if not more productive in a 4-day workweek compared to a 5-day workweek? Do you think a 4-day workweek would improve your work life balance?