“Worker wellbeing dramatically increased across a range of indicators, from perceived stress and burnout to health and work-life balance,” the report released Sunday stated. At the same time, “productivity and service provision remained the same or improved across the majority of trial workplaces.”
“Trials have shown that shortening working hours can have a powerful positive effect,” the report concluded.
The study, conducted by the Association for Sustainable Democracy in Iceland and the U.K.-based think tank Autonomy, studied 2,500 workers — about 1% of Iceland’s working population — in two major trials between 2015 and 2019. The trials “not only aimed to improve work-life balance but also to maintain or increase productivity,” noted the report.
There was no cut in pay for the reduced weeks of 35 to 36 hours a week.
The trials included a variety of workplaces, from traditional offices to preschools and hospitals, in 9-to-5 jobs as well as in nontraditional shifts. They were launched by the Reykjavík City Council and the Icelandic national government in response to shorter work week campaigns by unions and social organizations.
The report also noted that 86% of Iceland’s workers were now either working fewer hours or “gaining the right to shorten their hours.”
The study could function as a blueprint for future trials in other countries, the researchers noted.
Read the entire report here.
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