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Niveau B2-C1 (avancé)
While the coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives irrevocably, and in often unwanted ways, a surprisingly positive trend may have come out of it – the four-day work week.
At the beginning of 2020, working conditions changed almost overnight. For those who could work remotely, the daily commute became a thing of the past, often temporarily, sometimes permanently. But another, less apparent, change is also underway, and Iceland is where it’s happening.
Approximately 85% of the workforce in Iceland is working four days a week instead of the customary five. The obvious concern is that productivity is taking a nose-dive, but strangely, the opposite is true. Even though Icelanders are spending less time working, their productivity has risen. And that’s not all – psychological well-being is reaching an all-time high too despite the pandemic.
How is this possible?
The salaries in Iceland have not decreased, and the people have more time to spend with their families, on hobbies or doing sports. Due to an increase in well-being, Icelanders are as effective over a four-day period as they were over a five-day work week.
Can this success be directly applied to other countries? In some cases, yes. In others, only maybe. In the UK, 25% of sick leave is due to work stress. So, technically, implementing a four-day work week should have a positive outcome. However, the population of the UK is 66.65 million whereas Iceland has a population of 356,991. Will the larger scale tip the scales towards failure, so to speak? Very possibly. The population of the USA is 328.2 million – a far cry from Iceland’s. However, given that 86% of Iceland’s workforce have successfully made the move towards a shorter work week, it is worth a try in bigger countries.
So, what is the population of Iceland doing with their extra day off from work every week? Spending more time with friends and family, taking advantage of being able to drop their children off at school in the mornings and pick them up at the end of the school day, as well as engaging in more physical activity. It’s a win-win and one that other countries would do well to consider.
irrevocably = irrévocablement
a trend = une tendance
overnight = du jour au lendemain
remotely = à distance
daily commute = le trajet journalier entre le domicile et le travail
underway = en cours
workforce = les employés
customary = habituel
obvious = évident, indéniable
to take a nose-dive = chuter
well-being = le bien-être
despite = malgré
sick leave = un arrêt maladie
to implement = mettre en œuvre, en pratique
the outcome = le résultat
to tip the scales = faire pencher la balance en faveur de
failure = l’échec
to take advantage of = profiter de
win-win = où chacun y gagne
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