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Can working 4 days a week increase productivity?



While working 4 days a week without any reduction in wages is a system that many employees will gladly accept, it can make employers nervous in terms of efficiency and production. So, how do you think this theory would respond in real life? How would the success rates and productivity of institutions vary? As part of a study in Iceland, more than 1 percent of the country's working population participated in a pilot program that reduced weekly working hours to 35-36 hours without any reduction in overall wages. The researchers state that the trial was a great success and should be tested in the UK as well. Let's take a look at the outputs of the research together.


Productivity and prosperity increased!


The application was created from different groups, including workers, office workers, hospital and social workers, working in workplaces and non-standard shift patterns from 09.00 to 17.00 hours.

The joint analysis published by the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (Alda) in Iceland and the Autonomy think tank in the UK, after the 4-days-a-week trial, revealed that the productivity and well-being of the trials, which lasted from 2015 to 2019 and in which more than 2,500 people participated, proves to increase.

It showed that the well-being of workers participating in the trial improved significantly on a number of indicators, with stress and burnout, as well as health, work and life balance, significantly improved in almost all groups participating in the pilot programme.

On the other hand, the researchers observed that productivity and service delivery remained the same or improved in most workplaces included in the trial.


Progressive change is possible!


“The shorter workweek journey in Iceland shows us that in modern times not only is less work possible, but progressive change is possible,” said Gudmundur D. Haraldsson, an Alda researcher.


“The public sector can lead!”


Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said this study shows that the public sector is poised to pioneer shorter work weeks and that lessons can be learned for other governments. “Iceland is a great real-life example for local councils and those considering implementing it in the UK public sector. “He took a big step towards working 4 days a week by putting himself out there.”

The proposal to work 4 days a week in the UK is also supported by some segments. In the country, 45 MPs from different parties, including the opposition Labor Party, signed a motion last year calling on the government to set up a commission to examine the proposal.

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