Six-month trial to determine arrangement's impact on productivity, wellbeing
Forty-five employers in Germany will begin trialling a four-day work week in February to determine its impact on productivity and employee wellbeing.
The trial is part of the massive pilot led by New Zealand-based 4 Day Week Global, which has also overseen the trials of similar arrangements in countries such as the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The German trial will last for six months to determine if the country's labour unions are correct in predicting that it would make staff healthier, happier, and more productive, Bloomberg reported.
According to the report, it comes as the European country suffers from a significant skills shortage, which is expected to be exacerbated by the departure of more than seven million people in the labour force by 2035.
Employees in Germany are already demanding for shorter work weeks as well as pay rises of more than 20%, knowing that they are at an advantage in the negotiation table, according to the report.
The call for a shorter work week comes despite Germany already having one of the shortest average work weeks across the world with 34 hours, according to 4 Day Week Global.
A standard work week there is from Monday to Friday, with working hours starting from 8am or 9am to 5pm.
"Employees are allowed to work up to 10 hours per day, as long as the total weekly work time is not longer than 48 hours. Typically, work time should not exceed eight hours per day," 4 Day Week Global said on its website.
4-day work week goes global
The launch of the six-month four-day work week pilot in Germany adds the country to the growing list of nations trialling the arrangement.
Employers that have previously joined the trials across the world said they reaped positive results.
In the United Kingdom, nine in 10 employers there said they are keen to continue four-day work weeks after trialling them in 2022. Employees who participated in the trial also said they felt reduced levels of burnout, less fatigue, and improved mental health.
In Iceland, a four-day work week trial organised by the Reykjavik City Council and the Icelandic government between 2015 and 2019 saw "overwhelming success."
"It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned from other governments," Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, previously told ABC News.