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

In Copenhagen, 14 workplaces are currently participating in an experiment to implement a four-day work week. The manager of Radisevej dormitory, which offers mental health services, is confident that this new schedule will become permanent. Employees will work four one-day shifts followed by three days off, totaling 37 working hours per week, but with longer days than before.

The Danish parliament approved the trial of flexible working weeks in 2023, proposed by the Alternativet party Christian Jakobsen. The experiment is set to run until the end of the year and began on April 1st in workplaces across Copenhagen. After its completion, workplaces will evaluate whether they want to adopt the four-day work week permanently.

This is not Denmark’s first attempt at a flexible working week. Previous trials have been conducted in municipalities such as Esbjerg, Vejen, and Odsherred. Labor market researcher Janne Gleerup mentioned that similar experiments have been carried out in businesses for some time now, but public sector workplaces are also starting to embrace this change.

One of the participating companies in Copenhagen is Radisevej dormitory, where reorganization was necessary due to the shift in work hours but has been well received by employees. Jonas Ammitzbøll, director of Radisevej’s unit, has already noticed positive effects on recruitment and hopes for a better balance between work and free time.

The trend towards greater flexibility and work-life balance is not limited to Denmark; it is also being seen in other countries such as Finland’s central trade union organization SAK’s proposal for an experiment with shortened working hours and reports from a British experiment on a four-day workweek show improvements in physical and psychological health for participants leading to reduced stress levels and other benefits.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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