The world's largest-ever trial of a 'four-day week' in Iceland has been deemed an 'overwhelming success' as researchers call for it to be tested in the UK.
Workers were less stressed and had a better work-life balance, while bosses saw no significant drop-off in productivity or provision of services, analysts said
As a result of the experiment, which ran from 2015 to 2019, some 86 per cent of Icelandic workers have now negotiated contracts with permanently shortened hours.
Iceland's four-year experiment with a 'four-day working week' has been dubbed an 'overwhelming success' by researchers who want the model adopted elsewhere (file)Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Will Stronge, director of research at British think tank Autonomy, said: 'This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success.
'It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments.'
The Icelandic experiment involved two separate trials that initially included just a few dozen public sector workers who were members of unions.
But, as the trial progressed, it expanded to include 2,500 workers in both public and private sectors - or 1 per cent of the country's entire workforce.
Those taking part in the trials included police, healthcare workers, shop assistants, teachers and council workers, a report published by Autonomy and Iceland's Association for Sustainable Democracy said,
While the experiment has been dubbed a 'four-day week', in fact most workers did not take an entire day off work and instead aimed to reduce their hours from 40 per week to 35 or 36 - the equivalent of saving one full working day.
They largely did this by scrapping unnecessary meetings, shortening coffee breaks, and moving services online