Almost 90 per cent of Iceland’s workforce has moved to shorter hours for the same pay, or will gain the right to, following a successful four-year trial of a four-day work week.
The trials took place between 2015 and 2019. Employees in a range of jobs including roles in offices, hospitals and schools, were offered a full-time wage for a 35 or 36 hour week. Their productivity remained the same or even improved.
Employees reported feeling less stressed, said their health and work-life balance had improved, they had more time to spend with family, enjoy hobbies and finish household jobs.
Following the trials, trade unions renegotiated working hours and now 86 per cent of workers in Iceland follow a four-day week or will have the right to this.
Countries around the world have shown interest in following suit with politicians in support of a four-day working week including Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister; New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Arden and Japanese politican Kuniko Inoguchi.
The UK’s 4 Day Week campaign believes that a shorter working week could reduce the country’s carbon footprint by 21.3 per cent per year.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silicon Valley consultant, published Shorter, a book about shifting to a four-day work week, in March 2020.
“At first, I worried that it was exactly the wrong time to publish a book on the four-day week,” he says. “But it soon became clear — once the initial confusion over shutdowns and remote work settled — that the global movement to shorten the workweek wasn’t slowing down. In fact, the pandemic was making it possible for more companies to shorten their working hours, highlighting the urgent need to redesign how we work, and teaching me some new things about the four-day week as well as the future of work.
“No company just lopped a day off their calendar. Instead, they had to meaningfully redesign how they worked,” says Alex of the Icelandic trial, who says a shorter workweek without reducing productivity can be achieved by making meetings more efficient, introducing “focus time” when everyone can concentrate on their key tasks and making better use of technology.
Alex points out that the four-day work week is “more accessible than ever” because of the investments in technology many companies made because of the pandemic. He also says: “Job losses in 2020 erased decades of gains made by women in the workplace, and the 4-day workweek could help them recover.”
The Future of Workplace Evolution and Transformation is the topic for a panel discussion at INCLUSION 2021, the free annual global festival dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, from 19th to 21st October.
Speakers Tinisha Agramonte, Chief Diversity Officer at Motorola Solutions, Inc., Annie Yu, Chief of Staff at Vox Media and Yves Veulliet, Global Disability Inclusion Leader, IBM will speak about topics including:
- The pandemic has accelerated workplace transformation – what are world-leading organisations doing to reimagine a workplace fit for the future?
- What are the main obstacles to achieving greater accessibility at work, and what are the risks to the future success of an organisation if accessibility is not prioritised?
- Insights on making your processes more inclusive, from recruitment to flexible working
- How can we measure progress from a diversity, inclusion and belonging perspective
- What tools are readily available to help business leaders and HR teams?
We do hope you can join us: Register for your free ticket here: https://www.inclusionevent.com/