In Scotland the debate on the 4-day working week is rekindled. After the Scottish government announced in April its intention to allocate 10 million pounds to finance the trials in the company, the project accelerates with the publication of the survey among more than 2,000 workers of the think-tank, Institute for public policy research (Ippr ). The survey shows that for 80% of people reducing the number of days of work, without cuts in paychecks, favors individual well-being. In fact, 88% of those interviewed would be willing to participate in pilot projects while 65% believe a shorter workweek could increase Scotland’s productivity. The measure is particularly appreciated by young people with 89 percent of respondents aged between 16 and 44 in favor of the project.
The fund and the experiments
Compared to the fund for companies experiencing the short week – currently only announced by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon – Ippr said the government should commit to allocating funding to all sectors of the economy. Even those, such as manufacturing, where the transition to a four-day work week is more difficult. Rachel Statham, senior researcher at Ippr Scotland, said: The Scottish government is right to want to experiment with a four-day workweek, as today’s evidence shows that a policy with overwhelming public support, and could be a positive step towards the construction of an economy calibrated on people’s wellbeing.
The precedent of Iceland
Scotland could therefore take the path already traced by Iceland where there is now literature on the 4-day work week. In fact, between 2015 and 2019 in Iceland the short working week was actually tested with excellent results in terms of productivity. About two thousand workers have gone from a 40-hour week to one of 35 or 36 hours without any backlash on the quality of work front. The final report linked to the Icelandic experiment highlighted how employees felt less stressed, happier and more willing to work for the company.