Thousands of workers in Ireland have begun trying four days a week as part of an international test.
Ireland is the only European country, along with the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to participate in a six-month pilot project exploring the effects of a shorter working week.
The program is run by 4 Day Week Global in collaboration with other civil society groups and academics from Oxford, Cambridge and Boston College.
Employees of participating companies will be paid in full if they work 80 percent of their previous working hours, but are committed to maintaining their productivity at 100 percent.
Study organizers will monitor productivity levels, environmental impact, and gender equality within participating organizations. The results of the study will be published next year.
“We will analyze how workers respond to an extra day off in terms of stress, burnout, work-life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy expenditure, travel and many other aspects of life,” said Juliet Shore, a professor of sociology at Boston College. and lead researcher on the project.
“The four-day week is widely seen as a triple dividend – helping workers, businesses and the climate. Our research will examine all of this.”
At least 17 Irish companies of various sizes from a range of sectors have joined the initiative, as well as 70 UK companies. The plan follows similar programs implemented in other countries such as Iceland between 2015 and 2019 or by individual companies.
“As we beat the pandemic, more and more companies are realizing that the new frontier of competition is quality of life, and that reducing working hours and working focused on productivity gives them a competitive advantage,” said Joe O’Connor, managing director of 4: World week day.
“The effects of the ‘Great Resignation’ now show that workers in a wide range of industries can achieve better results by working shorter hours and working smarter,” he added.
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