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Friday, I’m In Love: Four-Day Workweek Going Mainstream

The concept of a four-day workweek has become a trending topic of workplace discussion in the hybrid era.

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.