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Germany’s Four-Day Workweek Pilot: A New Era in Work-Life Balance


Following the success of the UK’s 2022 four-day workweek pilot, Germany is gearing up for its own revolutionary experiment. Starting on September 21, 2023, German companies will have the opportunity to participate in a six-month trial, running until December 2024, that could potentially reshape the country’s work culture.

This ambitious project is being organized by Intraprenör and 4 Day Week Global, aimed at helping companies adopt a four-day workweek while maintaining productivity and ensuring that employees receive the same wages they would for a five-day workweek.


Trial period of 4-day work week


In preparation for the trial, participating companies will go through a two-month planning and onboarding phase, during which they will receive guidance on task organization and effective communication methods to accommodate the reduced working hours.

During the six-month trial period, employees at these companies will regularly provide feedback through questionnaires, sharing insights on how the shorter workweek is impacting their productivity and work-life balance. The University of Münster will analyze these responses, offering valuable insights into the trial’s outcomes.

4-day work week trial in UK


The UK’s four-day workweek pilot, conducted from June to December 2022, set a significant precedent. With 61 diverse companies of varying sizes participating, the trial was hailed as a “resounding success.” Out of the 61 companies, 56 opted to continue with the four-day workweek model, and 18 of these companies made the change permanent.

The UK trial revealed remarkable results, with 39% of employees experiencing reduced stress levels and 71% reporting decreased burnout. These findings are especially relevant for Germany, which has seen a sharp rise in the number of workers on sick leave due to stress.


Hopes connected with the trial


While the Intraprenör and 4 Day Week Global pilot is set to be the most extensive of its kind in Germany, other projects are also exploring the potential benefits of a reduced workweek.

In Berlin, Labour Minister Cansel Kiziltepe plans to launch a pilot project for public administrative staff. Moreover, IG Metall, Europe’s largest industrial union, is in negotiations to implement a four-day workweek for all metalworkers in Germany. These initiatives collectively signal a significant shift in how the country perceives work-life balance and the potential advantages of a shorter workweek.


The hopes associated with the upcoming four-day workweek trial in Germany:

1. Improved Work-Life Balance: One of the primary hopes is that the trial will lead to a significantly improved work-life balance for employees. By reducing the number of working days, employees can enjoy more leisure time and focus on their personal lives, ultimately leading to greater job satisfaction.

2. Reduced Stress and Burnout: The UK four-day workweek pilot demonstrated a decrease in stress levels and burnout among employees. German companies are hopeful that a similar outcome will be seen, potentially alleviating the high rates of stress-related sick leave in the country.

3. Maintained Productivity: The trial’s design ensures that companies maintain productivity levels despite the reduced workweek. Employers hope to prove that a shorter workweek doesn’t lead to decreased output, debunking a common misconception.

4. Permanent Implementation: If the trial is successful, there is a strong hope that many companies will choose to permanently implement the four-day workweek. This could mark a significant shift in how work is structured and how employees experience their professional lives in Germany.

5. Employee Satisfaction: A four-day workweek is expected to increase employee satisfaction, which can lead to improved employee retention and attraction of top talent. Companies hope that happier employees will be more committed and dedicated to their roles.

6. Economic Benefits: Reducing the number of workdays may have economic benefits, such as saving on office space and utilities. Employers are hopeful that these cost savings could offset any potential reductions in productivity.

7. Innovation and Creativity: Some anticipate that the reduced workweek may encourage creativity and innovation among employees. With more free time to rest and recharge, individuals may bring fresh ideas and perspectives to their work.

8. Government and Union Support: The trial’s success could lead to increased support from the government and labor unions for shorter workweeks. This support might include policy changes or collective bargaining agreements in favor of reduced working hours.


These hopes are based on the positive outcomes observed in the UK four-day workweek pilot and the growing awareness of the importance of employee well-being in the workplace. Companies, employees, and policymakers are eager to see whether these aspirations can be realized in Germany.