According to researchers in Iceland, shorter workweeks were found to be “an overwhelming success”, after respondents said that their productivity rose and felt less burned out.
The study, facilitated by the Reykjavík City Council, conducted in two trials between 2015 and 2019, public sector workers were asked to cut their work time by five hours each week without a corresponding reduction in pay. As a result, workers’ quality of life improved dramatically.
Researchers further found that reducing 40 hours of work a week to 35 or 36 hours not only affected employees positively, but also improved or retained the productivity and services across various workplaces.
The pandemic had changed the face of industry as quarantine had forced employees to work from home at unprecedented levels. This has pushed both workers and employers to revisit their standards of productivity.
Due to the trials, labor unions have renegotiated working patterns, resulting in 86% of the country’s workforce to have shorter hours for the same wages.
Gudmundur Haraldsson, a researcher at the Association for Sustainable Democracy (ALDA) said: “The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too.”