Is it really possible to work only four days a week? According to the results from Iceland, yes. The project carried out in this country for four years has proven that by reducing the working day to four days, the productivity of workers and the provision of services are not only maintained but, in some cases, improved. The key, stress reduction.
The tests simply consisted of reducing weekly working hours from 40 to 35 hours, of course without a reduction in pay. They were carried out between 2015 and 2019 with around 2,800 workers, which is one percent of the Icelandic population.
The results were amazing. More well-being and the same productivity. Unions have gotten to work with this data in hand, and very soon 86 per cent of the Icelandic workforce will enjoy reduced hours if they so wish.
Spain bets on change
Other countries or cities are already working on similar experiments, such as Spain, where the government announced in March its intention to test the four-day work week. In his case, it is a matter of experimenting with 32 hours in a space of three years. New Zealand or Germany also have strong supporters of this idea, with which they also fight against climate change.
According to the latest data, in 2019 the inhabitants of the European Union worked an average of 36.2 hours a week. That same year, Romanian employees had the longest working week, 40 and a half hours on average. In the Netherlands, meanwhile, 29.3 hours were worked.
In Belgium, for its part, the greatest difference was recorded between full-time employees and self-employed workers, employing these almost 53 hours a week. Undoubtedly, it is time to continue working.