Copenhagen tests out four-day working week with number of applicants doubling

In 2023, the Danish parliament approved an experiment on flexible working weeks, proposed by the Alternativet party Christian Jakobsen. The trial, running until the end of the year, began on April 1 in workplaces across Copenhagen. Among the participating workplaces is the Radisevej dormitory, which provides mental health services. The manager of Radisevej believes that this new work schedule is here to stay.

Employees at Radisevej will work four one-day shifts followed by three days off, totaling 37 working hours a week, but with longer days than before. This shift in work hours required reorganization but has been well received by employees. Jonas Ammitzbøll, the director of Radisevej’s unit, is already seeing positive effects on recruitment and hopes for a better balance between work and free time.

This is not the first experiment of its kind in Denmark, with previous trials in municipalities like Esbjerg, Vejen, and Odsherred. Labor market researcher Janne Gleerup mentioned that similar experiments have been conducted in the business world for some time, but now public sector workplaces are also embracing this change.

The trend of adapting to a more flexible work schedule is also seen in other countries. Finland’s central trade union organization SAK’s proposal for an experiment with shortened working hours mirrors this shift towards greater flexibility and work-life balance. Reports from a British experiment on a four-day work week showed improvements in physical and psychological health for participants, leading to reduced stress levels and other benefits.

Overall, the transition to a four-day work week is an ongoing experiment with potential benefits for both employees and employers as society continues to prioritize greater flexibility and work-life balance.

By Samantha Johnson

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