Iceland now only works 4 days per week

86% of the icelandic workforce have moved towards working only 4 days per week with the same salary. But what about craftsmen?

A new report by the british thinktank Autonomy and the icelandic union for a sustainable democracy have shown that the productivity remained the same or even increased on by far the most places the test were made.

Iceland conducted the test between 2015 and 2019 and the results were so overwhelming that they have kept them in place voluntarily. So instead of working 40 hours 5 days per week, they now work 35-36 hours 4 days per week keeping their salaries.

The test showed that the gains with lower stress-factors and general work-life balance was so good that it by far outweighed the added needs. Less time off and happier workers.

Iceland have a large industry with fish as the primary source of income. So would these results be applicable in every domain?

Craftsmen need the hours

The craftsman industry still show a huge overload on administration. A Master Craftsman typically spend 20% of his time doing paperwork in the office handling hours, invoices and documenting work. That a whole day per week. Data from tens of thousands of craftsmen from Germany and Denmark shows this, according to Apacta.

So if a Craftsman should move towards a 4-day work week, the day being capped would be a day that typically gets invoiced providing the income, and not the administration. That never goes away!

A 4 day per week work schedule would basically instead increase the time needed for administration to 25%. That is not sustainable for small and mediumsized craftsmen. They will still have the challenge with a stressful day and maintaining a work-life balance quite askew.

The fruits harvested in Iceland is not directly applicable to the craftsmen industry, unless the administrative side of business – the public bureaucracy, spreadsheets and documentation – gets lowered.

Apacta can help with this! 15% more time can get invoiced in general optimizing processes. Time will be saved using a system to keep track of all operations. This time can be used to either work more – which is what craftsmen typically do today – or getting more time off to relieve stress and taking care of life aswell. Without it being a cost.

So congratulations to Iceland on the good results! But some domains and companysizes – such as small and mediumsized craftsmen – would not be able to harvest those results.

The 86% of the icelandic workforce is primarily from the big fishing industry. So the test conducted there is not representative for larger countries with a broader aspect of business. But even if the results are not directly applicable, we should not overlook the value gained. Decreasing stress and leaving room for life is something we all should pursue. The road getting there is just different – especially for craftsmen.