Friday, I’m In Love: Four-Day Workweek Going Mainstream
Iceland may provide more relief and relaxation to workers via its pioneering work culture than from its famous tourism industry, due to a new report about the “overwhelming success” of a series of trials testing a four-day workweek.
As reported on the BBC and elsewhere, tests challenging the traditional pillar of work-life balance, run by the Reykjavík City Council and the national government included roughly 1% of the country’s working population and found significant benefits in terms of work satisfaction and productivity. The results were so positive, roughly 86% of the island nation’s workforce will move to shorter hours for equal pay, or the right to do so, per the research team.
During a post-vaccine period of incredible upheaval in how companies organize their workers, and debates about whether companies will move to a mixture of remote and hybrid schedules or back to a pre-coronavirus routine, these kinds of trials and tests speak to the possibility of a broad shift in how we work.
These types of experiments aren’t new. Writer and journalist Anne Helen Petersen, who wrote a detailed newsletter about the four-day workweek, found that companies in New Zealand, Britain and Japan had all been testing short workweeks, and tended to replicate the same results: better employee satisfaction, more productivity and vast savings by the employer.
These types of trials speak to a growing challenge within commercial real estate. As working patterns shift, offices see fewer workers — New York is struggling to bring back commuter crowds — which suggests leases may not be renewed, and businesses and buildings that depended on large concentrations of office workers may also suffer long-term declines in business.