Office workers in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA


A recent entrepreneur poll shows that 75% of employer companies would not be willing to try a four-day workweek if employee wages remained the same. "Four out of five employers do not believe that a four-day workweek would improve productivity enough to pay the same salary as before," says Janne Makkula, Director of the Finnish Entrepreneurs. A four-day workweek can be tested locally right now without a government-led operation.

The entrepreneur poll shows that 17% of employers would be willing to try it out, and 8% do not have an opinion. Willingness to try a four-day workweek increases when wage reduction is also involved. In that case, 37% of employer companies would be willing to try the experiment. However, 59% do not even want to try this with a wage cut.

"A four-day workweek without a salary cut is not realistic for the vast majority of employer companies. However, some employers are willing to try it. There is a special willingness to try it in companies that offer expert services," Makkula summarizes.

"In expert services, working hours and timing are often less important than in many other sectors. The essential thing in these services is that the end result of the work is high quality. In these companies, a four-day workweek can be tried out now if desired. State intervention and central directive are not required for this," Makkula points out.

Reducing working hours would weaken profitability.

Employers believe that reducing working hours would have various impacts on the company's operations.

59% of employer companies believe that the company's profitability would be weakened. 41% believe that the labor market situation would worsen. On the other hand, 39% believe that work and family life could be better balanced. Sick leave would decrease, according to 22%, and 28% believe that well-being at work would improve.

"The key finding is that 77% of employers do not believe that a four-day week would improve productivity enough to pay the same salary as before," comments economist Petri Malinen.

In Finland, private sector productivity is lower and has developed more poorly than in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. In Finland, the value added per working hour is about $62 per working hour, while it is about $75 in Denmark and Sweden and almost $70 in Germany.

"In Finland, productivity has practically not increased in over a decade, even though the seriousness of the problem has been acknowledged, and we have even set up an independent productivity board to solve the problem. It is unbelievable that shortening the workweek would suddenly result in a clear increase in productivity," Malinen says.

According to the entrepreneur poll, only 13% of employers see that work efficiency and productivity would increase as a result of reduced working hours.

The study surveyed a total of 1,038 small and medium-sized enterprises in Finland.