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

Flexible Future: Denmark’s Four-Day Work Week Trial: Radisevej Dormitory Leads the Charge towards a Better Work-Life Balance

In Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 workplaces are participating in a trial to implement a four-day work week. The manager of Radisevej dormitory, which provides mental health services, believes that this new schedule is here to stay. Employees will work four one-day shifts followed by three days off, totaling 37 working hours a week, but with longer days than before.

This experiment was approved by the Danish parliament in 2023 and began on April 1 across Copenhagen’s workplaces. After the trial ends, workplaces will evaluate whether to permanently adopt the four-day work week. This is not the first time such an experiment has been conducted in Denmark – previous trials have taken place in municipalities like Esbjerg, Vejen, and Odsherred.

Labor market researcher Janne Gleerup notes that similar experiments have been carried out in the business world for some time now, but public sector workplaces are also beginning to embrace this change. Among the participating workplaces in Copenhagen is Radisevej dormitory, where the shift in work hours required reorganization 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 adapting to a more flexible work schedule is also seen in other countries – Finland’s central trade union organization SAK has proposed an experiment with shortened working hours. 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, this ongoing experiment has potential benefits for both employees and employers as it aligns with societal changes towards greater flexibility and work-life balance.

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