The majority of countries in the globe employ a five-day workweek. A four-day workweek, however, is becoming more popular in many nations and/or businesses.
By the end of 2022, more than two dozen nations were conducting test runs and pilot projects to examine the viability of a four-day workweek, while a few others had formally adopted the option.
Early evidence on four-day workweeks is generally encouraging because it improves the work-life balance, stress levels, and general well-being of people in nations that value hard effort and, in particular, those that are overworked.
Unions all over the world are urging governments to adopt the four-day workweek, but which countries have done so and how far has it progressed?
4 Day Work Week Country
The COVID-19 epidemic served as the impetus for Nova Scotia to launch a nine-month experimental program that improved employee happiness and productivity.
Numerous businesses, including Alida Inc. and Juno College, already use a four-day workweek.
In April 2022, a second six-month study involving 38 US and Canadian businesses began.
The four-day workweek or six-hour workday should be implemented in Finland starting in August 2019.
It was a call to action, not a formal degree, and the country has taken a while to actually adopt a four-day workweek, despite optimistic internet reports to the contrary.
From 2015 to 2019, Iceland trialled four-day, 35–36-hour workweeks with more than 2,500 employees, or around 1% of the total workforce.
Police agencies, educational institutions, and the mayor’s office of Reykjavik were among the participating employers, and workers received the same pay.
The experiment was deemed a big success.
Work-life balance improved, burnout and stress decreased, and office costs like electricity also decreased.
Productivity remained the same or increased. Today, 86% of Icelanders put in four-day weeks.
Since the early 1990s, the typical work week in the Netherlands has been short (29 hours), and there are many of part-time employees.
Although Dell has decreased compensation by 20%, it has implemented 32-hour alternatives for employees, and more formal trials are planned.
Scotland invested 10 million pounds in a four-day workweek trial project that took place from January to June 2022 and followed the 100-80-100 paradigm.
The short workweek was then upheld by several Scottish firms when the trial ended successfully.
The majority of Scots (80%) favour four-day workweeks. Additional tests appear expected.
6.) United Arab Emirates
The UAE implemented a 4.5-day (36-hour) short work week on January 1, 2022, including opportunities for flexible scheduling and work from home on Fridays.
Employee pay will remain unchanged as a result of the shortened workweek.
In the UAE, a normal workweek runs from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 am to noon on Friday.
The shorter weekly schedule is being used by all federal organizations, even though private businesses in the UAE have not yet adopted it.
7.) United States
A 4-day workweek has been implemented by scores of individual organizations, including Basecamp, Kickstarter, and Boulder, CO.
A six-month study involving 38 US and Canadian enterprises began in April 2022. Various state and local governments have run test programs.
8.) New Zealand
Twenty businesses from the software, digital marketing, health, finance, and construction sectors participated in a trial program that operated in New Zealand from August 2022 to January 2023.
Additionally, in 2021, Unilever ran a trial here for a year.
Although Ireland’s government has not yet made four-day workweeks official, they are a hot topic of debate.
A four-day workweek will be the norm in five years, according to 54% of respondents in a March 2022 survey of 1500 Irish professionals.
The 100-80-100 approach was tested for six months in 2022 with at least 20 companies.
Approximately 6% of Irish businesses have already switched to a four-day workweek, either permanently (4%) or temporarily (2%).
Beginning in February 2022, Belgium will be one of an increasing number of countries to offer a four-day workweek option.
Belgium’s program adheres to the 4/10 plan, which maintains the 40-hour requirement per week while switching from eight-hour shifts five days a week to ten-hour shifts four days a week.
This is in contrast to most four-day weeks, which reduce required work hours to 32 per week (eight hours per day for four days).
Full-time staff members do not face a salary reduction because the overall number of hours worked stays the same.
Additionally, it is legal for workers to switch off any work-related devices and disregard any calls, texts, and emails received after hours.
The Odsherred Municipality adopted a four-day, 35-hour workweek in 2019 despite the fact that Denmark’s standard work week is 37 hours long.
A recent survey found that 71% of German employers preferred it, and more than 150 have already made the switch to a four-day workweek. IG Metall, the largest labor union in the nation, concurs.
13.) United Kingdom
In June 2022, a six-month trial employing the 100-80-100 paradigm with 70 enterprises and 3300 employees got underway.
In September, 88% of those surveyed said the four-day workweek was effective.
34% of respondents indicated a modest improvement, 15% claimed a big improvement, and 46% stated productivity had stayed about the same.
After the trial, 86% of respondents said they would probably continue working four-day weeks.
In Australia, a four-day workweek experimental project ran from August 2022 to January 2023.
The project, which utilized the 100-80-100 paradigm with the additional objective of improving climate impact through lower consumption of energy and resources, involved 20 businesses from Australia and New Zealand, representing sectors ranging from marketing and finance to technology and mental health.
In September 2021, Spain began a three-year trial that will be supported by the government and involve 200 to 400 businesses using the 100-80-100 approach.
A IT company that took part, DESOL, reported a 20% rise in sales and a 20% drop in absenteeism.
The four-day workweek option was launched by Spanish telecom giant Telefónica in June 2022, but it came with a 20% pay cut.
2015 saw a trial of six-hour workdays in Sweden, with mixed results.
The firm had to hire several extra workers to make up for the missed hours, but the existing employees reported less stress and a better work/life balance.
Lithuanians who have kids under 3 will be able to work four-day weeks starting in 2023.
In 2019, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day workweek with three-day weekends while paying employees the same salaries.
Increase in productivity of 39.9%. The Japanese government aims to promote a healthier culture and social balance and lessen the tendency for workers to overwork themselves to death, despite the fact that Japan’s culture is traditionally very work-minded.
As a result, from June 2021, the Japanese government has promoted four-day workweeks. By the end of 2022, about 8.5% of businesses have embraced the idea, but some are also lowering pay by 20%.