Iceland's success of Four-day working week trial evoke research in the UK

Credit: PA Media

The world's largest-ever experiment of a four-day workweek, which took place in Iceland, has been hailed as an "overwhelming success" prompting demands for similar studies in the UK.

The trial was held between 2015 and 2019 and was organized by the Reykjavik City Council.

People on nine-to-five contracts, or shifts with similar hours, had their workweeks reduced to 35 or 36 hours without a wage drop.

The experiments enlisted the participation of 2,5000 people (about 1% of Iceland's working population) in a variety of contexts, including schools, hospitals, and workplaces.

All of the participants' productivity and well-being improved as a result of the study.
Following the trial, Icelandic trade unions were able to negotiate a general reduction in working hours, or the opportunity to work less, for 86 percent of the working population in Iceland.

The trial's success has generated requests for similar trials in the United Kingdom.

Will Stronge, the Director of Research at Autonomy (a think tank that produced a report on the Iceland trial), said: "The world's largest-ever trial of a shortened working week in the public sector, according to this analysis, was a resounding success.

"It demonstrates that the public sector is primed for being a leader in reduced workweeks, with lessons for other governments to learn.

"Iceland has taken a big step towards the four-day working week, providing a great real-life example for local councils and those in the UK public sector considering implementing it here in the UK."

There have been previous trials in the UK of a four-day working week, but the pandemic's shift in working habits has put an emphasis on efforts to promote work-life balance.

According to polls, both employees and managers want to experiment with more flexible working arrangements.

According to research commissioned by the 4 Day Week Campaign, just over half of workers desire permanent changes to their working lives following the pandemic, including a four-day workweek.

According to an Owl Labs study of more than 2,000 corporate leaders, just under 40% of them are considering switching to a four-day workweek, and the clear majority want to "explore progressive policies post-pandemic"

Prior to the 2019 election, then-shadow chancellor John McDonnell outlined plans for a 32-hour workweek for all employees, which he said would be phased in over ten years.

The Labour Party of Sir Keir Starmer has not committed to continuing the program, but numerous frontbenchers have stated that it should be investigated.

Varying trials in the UK have yielded different results, but the intricacy of removing one working day from the week has proven challenging.

After finding "that it is too operationally complex to implement." the Wellcome Trust, a medical research organization situated in central London, had to cancel its four-day week trial in 2019.
In 2018, the Advice Direct call center in Scotland successfully transitioned to a four-day week on full pay, claiming that productivity and motivation increased as a result of the change.

Publish : 2021-07-06 19:32:00

Give Your Comments