New Study Shows the True Potential for a Shorter Work Week

Have you ever considered what could happen if we changed the entire workweek by reducing the number of hours worked and shaving off hours here and there? The conversation on a shorter workweek has been talked about by so many people, so a new shorter workweek study in Iceland has created even more buzz due to its amazing results.

Introduction to the Study

Published in June 2021, by Autonomy and Alda and Association for Democracy and Sustainability, the study spanned five years and examined workers in Iceland. This trial was split into two parts, one being conducted by the Icelandic government and the other by the city of Reykjavik. 

It is important to note that those who participated in the study dud not suffer from a reduced salary as a result of them working fewer hours during the workweek. Employees who participated worked around 35 to 36 hours a week, while the controlled group worked 40 hours. The study involved around 2,500 employees from 100 different offices.

The study wanted to find out if shorter work weeks would help with poor work-life balance and see if it could improve productivity.

The Results

The results show that short work weeks have great benefits for employees. The results showed that a reduction of hours made it easier for employees to maintain and increase productivity, and it also improved their work-life balance and wellbeing.

The report examines the following:

  • How service provision and productivity were affected
  • How effectively work time was reduced
  • Whether improvements in workers’ wellbeing and work-life balance took place

Some people might think that a shortened workweek would lead to overworking, due to not having enough time to complete tasks, but that did not seem like the case in this study. Employees found it easier to organize themselves and their work with a short workweek. Even managers were improved by having shorter workdays.

The study also found that shorter work hours had an impact on goods and services, and their availabilities. “On the whole, indicators of service provision and productivity either stayed within expected levels of variation or rose during the period of the trial.”

When it came to wellbeing and work-life balance, this is a big one that showed a change in the study. Employees had lower stress levels, were more likely to say yes to overtime when needed and were less likely to take on additional part-time jobs. Other benefits included more family time, enjoyment of outside activities, less stress at home, more exercise, and others. 

What do you think about this shorter workweek study? Do you think it could benefit your office in the same way?

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