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Iceland tries a 4-day workweek with amazing results

Iceland tries a 4-day-a-week workday with amazing results
Photo: Getty Images

With the establishment of the 4-day work week in Iceland, 8 out of 10 people have reduced their stress and fatigue on a nationwide scale.

Amid the arguments over the new normality, Iceland made a practical decision. Your country’s workforce can work from home on many occasions. Moreover, the pandemic offered them a taste of what a healthier balance between their professional activities and their lives means. For this reason, the country introduced a 4-day only working day, which seems to have ushered in a new golden age for workers.

A more flexible work scheme

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Prior to the pandemic, juggling personal and professional obligations was difficult, especially in heavily crowded cities. Days started earlier and ended much later. With traffic, bad manners from coworkers, and the need to attend to family matters, leisure and self-care became a luxury few could afford.

So the idea of a 4-day workweek in Iceland doesn’t seem crazy. Initially unacceptable in the neoliberal model, this arrangement concedes that isn’t necessary to remain imprisoned up in an office building for (at least) 8 hours a day, five days a week. According to Forbes, hybrid work systems are increasingly expanding this possibility.

With the ability to connect to work every day, Icelandic workers – like many workers around the world – can fulfil their obligations from anywhere. Preferably from home. For those who can work with a stable computer and internet access, life becomes less expensive and noticeably less burdensome.

Death to the schedule 9-5

Businesswoman with face mask standing in office using mobile phone. Female executive reading text message on her cell phone in office. Photo: Getty Images

Unlike other countries, Iceland provides its workers with comprehensive social security. As a result, the move to a four-day workweek was not as hasty. Given that its population hardly exceeded 350 thousand people, it was a simple hurdle to overcome. However, it has more working hours per year than Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland.

Considering this, it is nevertheless remarkable that 85 percent of workers in the country now work fewer hours, and you have the right to reduce them if you see suitable. Productivity and service delivery remained constant, if not increased in some circumstances. A lot of variables contributed to an increase in workers’ overall well-being.

Stress, fatigue, and health were some of the indicators considered in the national study. The general perception so far is that these three items have been favored with this new scheme of work more flexible and friendly to the personal needs of the population. With these results, the 9-to-5 work schedules are losing much of the meaning prior to the pandemic.

The success was such that other countries throughout the world, such as Spain and Japan, intend to take the next stages in balancing job development and personal life.

The stuffy pride of working overtime in front of the same grey desk is eroding among younger generations of active workers. Today, the future depends in developing more flexible schedules in hybrid or remote schemes that do not jeopardize people’s well-being.

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