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In Iceland is delighted with the four-day working week

In Iceland, they told about the results of an experiment with a four-day working week, which was conducted from 2015 to 2019. It was attended by 3,000 people or 1% of all able-bodied citizens of the country. According to the researchers, the experiment ended with a huge success: the tested employees became happier, worked better, found a balance between work and personal life, and also became less susceptible to stress and burnout. After the study was completed, the unions achieved a reduction in the working week for tens of thousands of people across the country.

The report on the results of the experiment was published by the Association for Sustainability and Democracy of Iceland and the British center for Autonomy. The study involved employees of various fields — police officers, teachers, doctors, salesmen, educators, officials, etc.

Although the experiment was called a “four-day week”, in fact, most employees simply did not take a full-time job. They reduced their working hours from the traditional 40 to 35 or 36 hours a week. At the same time, saving time at work was achieved by avoiding unnecessary meetings, shorter breaks, and switching to remote mode. The salary of none of the participants in the experiment was reduced.

As the researchers noted, the labor productivity of the subjects did not decrease, and in some cases even increased. The employees themselves said that they had more time for meetings with family and friends, as well as for recreation and hobbies. In addition, they felt less stress and anxiety both at home and at work.

At the same time, the costs of organizations did not increase, with the exception of the healthcare sector, where more employees had to be hired to close shifts.

After the successful completion of the four-day experiment, Icelandic trade unions have achieved a reduction in the working week for tens of thousands of people across the country. According to the latest data, 86% of the working-age population of Iceland have switched to a reduced working week or have received the right to reduce working hours.

“This study shows that the world's largest experiment on the introduction of a shortened working week in public sector organizations has been staggeringly successful by all indicators. The results show that the public sector is ripe to become a pioneer in the sense of introducing a shorter working week — and other governments can take advantage of its lessons,” said Wil Strong, head of research at Autonomy.

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