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

In the City of Copenhagen, 14 workplaces are taking part in an experiment to implement a four-day work week. The manager of Radisevej dormitory, which provides mental health services, is optimistic about the future of this new schedule. Employees will work four one-day shifts followed by three days off, totaling 37 working hours a week, but with longer days than before.

The Danish parliament approved the trial on flexible working weeks in 2023, proposed by the Alternativet party Christian Jakobsen. The experiment began on April 1 and will run until the end of the year. Afterward, workplaces will evaluate whether to permanently adopt the four-day work week.

This is not Denmark’s first experiment with flexible working weeks. Previous trials have taken place in municipalities such as Esbjerg, Vejen, and Odsherred. Labor market researcher Janne Gleerup notes that similar experiments have been conducted 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 reorganization was necessary due to the shift in work hours. However, employees have welcomed it positively. Jonas Ammitzbøll, director of Radisevej’s unit, has already noticed improvements in recruitment and hopes for better balance between work and free time for his employees.

The trend of adapting to a more flexible work schedule is being seen worldwide. 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, transitioning to a four-day workweek is an ongoing experiment with potential benefits for both employees and employers aligning with societal changes towards greater flexibility and work-life balance

By Samantha Jones

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