A four-day work week is profitable in some fields, the professor tells YLE

A four-day work week is profitable in some fields, the professor tells YLE

However, Härmä told public radio that the effects of the four-day work week should be monitored for more than six months – one to two years – as the employees’ motivation may decrease after the initial enthusiasm.

“It would show how long productivity can remain unchanged after reducing working hours. The danger of shortening the working time is that the pace of the work accelerates when the breaks are reduced,” he explained.

The British companies that took part in the pilot did so voluntarily, which means that they may have been better equipped than the average company to adapt to the four-day working week. Härmä also pointed out that the pilot did not have a proper control group that would have allowed a comparison between participating UK and foreign companies.

“It’s challenging for research if you’re just comparing other companies that participated in the trial,” he said.

Härmä, who studied the results of numerous working time experiments, said that the experiments generally state that shorter working hours reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. According to him, a shorter working week could be profitable, especially in fields where employee productivity can be supported by introducing technological solutions and developing work processes.

“It is difficult to see that Finland could generally shorten working hours. Possibilities should be examined at the company or organizational level. It’s definitely worth looking into, he said.

Proposals have also been made in Finland to switch to a four-day work week.

prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) made such a proposal when serving as Minister of Transport and Communications in 2019. Matias Mäkynenvice-chairman of the Social Democrats, expressed his support for the trial organized after the pilot in Great Britain.

The Finnish Confederation of Trade Unions SAK did the same. Juha AntilaSAK’s development director said in February that a 20 percent shorter working week should be tried during the next election period and added that the experiment could be organized in cooperation with the central administration and labor market organizations.

“After the experiment is over, a research-based working time policy could be drawn up that takes into account people’s well-being and the need to extend working careers,” he said. press release from SAK.

Markus ÄimäläThe head of legal affairs of the Confederation of Finnish Business (EK) rejected the idea in interview with Helsingin Sanomat. According to him, the working hours should rather be extended due to the pressures caused by the aging of the population and the labor shortage.

Increasing working hours is not a solution, Härmä told YLE.

“Increasing working hours is probably roughly the same as proposing a salary cut in negotiations. There is also a risk that productivity will decrease as sickness absences and staff turnover increase. During a labor shortage, it is best to improve working conditions if you want to ensure staff satisfaction and productivity,” he reasoned.

The Ministry of Labor and the Economy is currently investigating the possibilities of experimenting with reduced working hours in Finland.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page

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