employees gathered around a computer screen

Four Day Work Week Trial Launched in Ireland

Following the success of Iceland's four day work week trial, Ireland is trialing its own pilot programme to examine the benefits of a four day work week.

Following the success of Iceland's four day work week trial, Ireland is trialing its own pilot programme to examine the benefits of a four day work week.

The six month programme marks a huge step towards transforming working practices. It will aim to prove that a four day work week can deliver as much output as a five day work week, while also improving employee well-being.

The programme organisers Four Day Work Week Ireland, will offer ongoing support and training to businesses and organisations involved in the six month experiment.

Joe O'Connor, chairperson of the Four Day Work Week Ireland campaign said:

 "In the last year, we have seen radical shifts in our working practices... The launch of the four day week pilot program represents an exciting moment of change for employers and employees, and it's up to the business community now to show that they are willing to lead and support this change for the better."

The Irish government is also funding research so they can assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of the programme. 

Leo Varadkar, the Deputy Leader and the Minister for Enterprise and Employment said: 

"The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to rethink and re-evaluate how we work. It's been shown that huge numbers of people can be just as productive while working at home rather than having to come into the office every day and it has accelerated the shift towards more flexible and family-friendly working hours."

This campaign is part of a much larger campaign petitioning to make four day work weeks a reality for all businesses and employees globally. An online petition launches on June 23 to attempt to aid this cause.

Iceland's own trial was so successful that more than 85% of Iceland's workforce now works shorter hours or works in a setting where the right to shorter hours is guaranteed. 

Similarly, in Japan, a country notorious for stressful working conditions, shortened weeks in Microsoft's Japanese operations lead to a 40% increase in business productivity due to improvements in employee well-being.

Employers who would like to learn more or participate can contact Four Day Work Week Ireland.