Deliberate Rest

Designing rest for a busy world

Tag: Denmark

Danish municipality trialing a 4-day week

Odsherred Municipality, a rural peninsula an hour north of Copenhagen, is trialing a 4-day week, according to The Local:

The northwest Zealand municipality’s 300-strong staff is to be given Fridays off, beginning this week, its HR head of department Kirsten Lund Markvardsen said.

A three-year trial of various new initiatives at the local council is the basis for the shorter working week.

Another change brought about by the trial will enable local residents to contact the municipality outside of traditional opening hours on working days.

“Members of the public will be able to call earlier and later in the day in return for us being closed on Friday,” Markvardsen said.

“That should enable us to provide better municipal service whilst giving our staff an extra day off,” she added.

In my forthcoming book SHORTER (US | UK) I talk a little about rural areas or small towns in the UK, Korea, and Japan that are experimenting with shorter workweeks. Sooner or later we’ll start to see places like Odsherred bring together local government, businesses, and schools, and coordinate a shift to a 4-day workweek. As a way to distinguishing itself, to attract people and businesses, and to guarantee that companies and families won’t have to deal with he problems created by having conflicting school and business schedules.

It sounds like the trial will last three years, which is a pretty generous period, and should give me plenty of time to get up there to do some interviews!

The man who broke the calendar: About IIH Nordic and its 4-day week

IIH Nordic

One of the companies I write about in SHORTER (US | UK) is IIH Nordic, a Copenhagen-based data marketing firm that implemented, and has become a Nordic model for, a 4-day workweek.

IIH Nordic

Now, there’s a new book by journalist Pernille Garde Abilgaard, Manden der knuste kalenderen for at gøre sine medarbejdere lykkelige (the title translates roughly into “The man who broke the calendar to make his employees happy”), about IIH Nordic and its 4-day week.

I spent a little time with Pernille when I was last in Copenhagen, and it sounds like an interesting project. It’s pretty focused on the experience of IIH Nordic, but I don’t find these kinds of deep dives to be competition with a book like SHORTER; I think there’s value in both projects that look in great detail at particular firms (something I can’t do in a book about a hundred companies), and books (like SHORTER) that look across a large number of places, and try to see the commonalities in trials happening on different continents.

Scenes from Copenhagen

Most important, it’s another data-point that indicates that the 4-day week is quickly going from a total curiosity, to something that a growing number of people are at least willing to entertain the idea that a shorter workweek can work.

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