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

In the City of Copenhagen, 14 workplaces are currently taking part 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 a permanent change. 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 Christian Jakobsen of the Alternativet party. The experiment is set to run until the end of the year and began on April 1 in participating workplaces across Copenhagen. After its completion, each workplace will evaluate whether to adopt the four-day workweek permanently.

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

One of the participating businesses in Copenhagen is Radisevej dormitory where Jonas Ammitzbøll, director of its unit has reported positive effects from the shift in hours on recruitment and hopes for a better balance between work and free time. The trend towards greater flexibility and work-life balance is also evident in other countries, including Finland’s SAK union’s proposal for an experiment with shortened working hours and reports from Britain showing improved physical and psychological health among participants leading to reduced stress levels and other benefits. Overall, this ongoing experiment holds potential benefits for both employees and employers as we move towards a more flexible society.

By Aiden Johnson

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