For many workers a fantasy, for others a reality or one that will soon come true. The four-day workweek provides beneficial outcomes for the employees as well as for the employers. For example, a four-day workweek enables employees to have more time for their own private lives. Important appointments or urgencies can be scheduled on the day off, allowing the weekend to be used more for relaxation. This can then result in a better work-life balance, which can improve mental health and reduce feelings of stress.
Work fills the space we give it
Working more hours a week does not mean working better. If we worked less, could we be more effective and productive overall? ‘A Conscious Culture Initiative’ explores this question.
The initiative believes that it is important to challenge adopted practices and explore new ways of working. They are asking companies to rethink work and prioritise the health and wellbeing of the team by trying it out a four-day workweek.
Iceland started the experiment: the four-day workweek with full pay
Iceland started the experiment to analyse the effects of the shortened working week in more detail. The study lasted two years. The first trial started in 2015 and included up to 2,500 workers at its peak. More than 400 people participated in the second trial starting in 2017. Considering the small country, this is a significant number in terms of the total working population.
The study showed: happier workers
The result of the experiment was an “overwhelming success”, Will Stronge told the BBC. Workers are feeling better, have more time, generally feel happier, and suffer less burnout and stress.
The results are beyond expectation: more creative and productive workers
The above results, in turn, had a positive effect on the work that was just done as effectively despite the shortened working hours. According to the study – in some cases, even more, work was done in less time. “Productivity and output remained the same or even improved in most of the experimental workplaces,” the study says.
The majority of Europeans want the 4-day workweek
In a study entitled “The Workforce View in Europe 2019“, more than 10,000 employees in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK were interviewed about various aspects of the world of work today and in the future.
The Workforce View in Europe: a survey in Europe gives insight
The extent of the desire for a better work-life balance in all the countries surveyed can be seen in the approval of various working time models. 56 percent would prefer to work only four days a week. And that even if the working hours per day were extended accordingly. The proportion of those who could accept a loss of salary with reduced hours is significantly lower. 78 percent of Europeans would prefer to work longer hours on each of four days in order to maintain their salary level. In contrast, 22 percent of workers would prefer normal working hours with lower pay. Is it only a matter of time until companies react and increasingly adapt to the needs of workers with regard to new working time models?
Why is our start-up launching the 4-day week in Europe?
In times of digitalization and automation, we think, a general reduction in working hours is becoming increasingly realistic in many companies in Europe. The 4-day workweek is also coming more and more into focus in the climate debate.
We also see positive signals like:
- More time for family, own projects, hobbies, further education, voluntary work, and private life
- Positive impact on creativity and productivity
- Increase in employee satisfaction and employer attractiveness
- Stress prevention through longer recovery phases
- Less absence due to illness
- Energy and cost savings
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Blog article written by: Sylke Bauerschmidt
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