The onset of the pandemic has tremendously changed normal for everyone around the globe and people have shifted to a ‘new normal’. Among other things, the culture of work from home and going for shorter periods to work has grown on people. Either people work entirely from home with setups built in their homes or they go on alternate days, making their weeks shorter than what was usual earlier. This has relieved them from the stress of their work and some even claim that this practice has contributed to the increased productivity of employees.
Many progressive countries that put the mental well-being and satisfaction of their employees above profits or other variables are moving towards shorter workweeks. Iceland is one of the said countries. In a report conducted by BBC, it is mentioned that the country tried out four days as a workweek and it proved to be of an ‘overwhelming success.’
This practice is not unique to countries that like to experiment with their working cultures to make their employees more comfortable and productive at the same time. Japan adopted this practice and Iceland ran trials in 2019 as well. These results including the rest from other countries signify that the productivity of the employees either remained the same or was enhanced by shorter workweeks with the same amount of salary.
The trial was conducted on 2500 workers which makes it the largest shorter work hours trial focus group. The Association for Sustainable Democracy in Iceland stated that the country will be moving to shorter work hours, and it will be provided as a right to the employees in the future.
Following in Iceland’s footsteps, other countries are jumping on the bandwagon as well. New Zealand and Spain are introducing shorter working hours as well. Unilever in New Zealand has started their new policy in accordance too. Japan’s Prime Minister announced a choice for the employees to decide their working hours recently as well.