Multiyear study finds Iceland cut work hours with no loss of productivity

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Studies conducted in Iceland that involved cutting worker hours without slashing their pay showed no negative impact on productivity, according to a new report.

The trials, conducted between 2015 and 2019 by Reykjavik City and the Icelandic government, monitored the impact on efficiency and service if workers had their hours cut from 40 hours a week to 35 or 36 hours a week. Each participant’s pay remained the same.

Results found work productivity was unharmed, but workers reported feeling less stressed, less sense of burnout and a better work-life balance, according to a report released on July 4.

Businesses involved in the trial, including offices, social service providers and hospitals, made meetings shorter, or nixed them all together. They also reworked shifts to maximize work time in the shortened work week.

The trials, which involved about 2,500 workers, or 1 percent of the country’s workers, were dubbed an “overwhelming success.” Since their completion, 86 percent of Iceland’s workforce has shifted to the shorter hour model or is in the process of doing so.

“These trials are therefore an incredible success story of working time reduction, of interest to campaigners and workers worldwide,” the report states.

Tags Business Iceland Productivity Stress work-life balance workers working
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