Belgium, the recent one to join the bandwagon, has approved four-day week. Under a series of labour market reforms, employees will soon be able to choose a four-day week. Additionally, the workers will have the right to turn off work devices and ignore work-related messages after hours.

ABC News

In last few years, several other countries tried to adopt a four-day work week schedule and went on to record a noticeable increase in productivity. While only two countries have made the shift so far, here’s the full list of countries that attempted to bring work-life balance by having four-day work week. 

1. UAE

In 2021, UAE became the first country to transition to a 4-and-half day work week. Under the new rule, employees are offered flexible working hours and work-from-home options on Friday, whereas Saturdays and Sundays are full-day holidays.  


2. Japan

Japan, a country notorious for its “overwork culture”, introduced new economic policy guidelines recommending companies to switch to a four-day work week for better work-life balance. In June 2021, the country’s government as an initiative program urged firms to adopt the new work schedule. Although employers were skeptical about the program, Microsoft Japan showed a staggering 39.9 per cent in productivity.

3. New Zealand

Two years ago, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggested employers consider a four-day working week and other flexible working options. However, only handful of companies tried it in and among which was Perpetual Guardian, the company has been working four days a week since 2018. Following a six-week trial they found productivity had improved by 20 percent.


4. Iceland

The trails of a four-day week, which took place between 2015 and 2019, also started in Iceland and showed measurable success. Following the experiment, numerous workers moved to shorter hours. Reportedly, the employees felt less stressed and their health and work-life balance had improved.

The Guardian

5. Finland

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin also called for a four-day working week or six-hour days in 2020. She advocated for shorter work weeks to improve employee rapport and productivity. However, the country is currently following it’s normal work schedule- eight hours per day, five days per week.  

6. Spain

A year ago, the Spanish government agreed to launch a modest pilot project for companies interested in the idea, which has been steadily gaining ground globally, of a four-day work week. 

7. Ireland

Similarly, in Ireland a four-day week campaign was initiated to test the effectiveness of the idea, with no loss in pay for employees from January 2022. Reportedly, 17 companies located across the country signed up to the programme. 

Do you think India should switch to a shorter work week?