Traditionally, employees work five days a week alongside a typical nine till five routine, usually clocking in around 35-40 hours a week on average. However, many companies around the globe have been testing out a four-day working week to see if employee productivity and happiness would improve, with no reduction in salary.
The introduction of a four day working week consists of a shorter working week, allowing for a three day weekend. Many argue this could potentially boost productivity and help to prevent work related burn-out.
Here is what each country found during their research:
Between 2015 and 2019, Iceland cut down the amount of work hours from 40 hours to 35 hours per week. Initial data gathered from the results shows that productivity either stayed the same or increased, showing that reduced hours work just as effectively as the longer hours.
Short term studies from Microsoft in Japan showed that the introduction of a four day working week boosted productivity in the workplace by 40%. Power costs also fell by 23%, therefore there was also some environmental benefits seen over the course of the study.
In 2018 an estate planning firm named Perpetual Guardian trialed a four-day workweek for its employees. Again the findings were incredibly encouraging, showing that there was reduced stress among employees and a higher sense of well being. They also found there was better employee engagement, which led to the company to continue their four-day workweek programme on a voluntary basis.
More recently in 2021, Spain announced that they were going to conduct a trail of the four-day working week in the country. The study will take place over the course of three years, and involve 200-400 voluntary companies. Joe Ryle from the Four-Day Week Campaign stated that the new scheme could help improve workers mental health and help people feel less ‘burned-out’ due to work related stressors. Although results are yet to be discovered, it’s definitely encouraging news that the scheme could one day be adopted around the world.