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Working 4 days/week, getting paid for 5 and being even more efficient than before!
How is that possible?

I visited last week the company IIH Nordic in Copenhagen -> A huge learning for all companies who want to be more productive and work less hours.

In 2014 Henrik Stenmann, CEO & Future way of working Enthusiast of IIH Nordic (50+ employees in Digital Industry) decided to take action:

Every employee will work 4 days instead of 5 and get the same advantages.

Results -> Employees are more productive / the profit increased / Illness decreased.

How did that happen?!?

Henrik Stenmann and his team were facing in 2014 a hard reality:

–      working long hours (60/week)

–      overloaded and really stressed

–      no time to reflect and do new things

–      hard to retain the talents in the company

They felt in the hamster wheel, so one day Henrik sat down with his management team to brainstorm on how to change the situation. A great idea came up as a joke:

“Let’s work 4 days a week, I’m sure we’ll be more productive!” 

They took the joke seriously and started to get everyone involved on the project. if we want to be successful with 4 days a week we have to be like an orchestra, let’s do it together.

Of course, it was not that easy at the beginning as not everyone was ready to actually change something. Henrik realized he needed to learn more on the change management so he made a plan and tried to get everyone on board.

A few years later, we can confirm that they successfully achieved their goals.

HOW? With their own formula:


 “Learning and doing it right is a key element to quick onboarding and (speed) learning efficiently” 

  • They made videos to explain what they do and how they do it. People normally remember better with videos, it is a very efficient way for new employees to learn or to remember how things are done. The company saved time for the learning processes.
  • They use digital speed learning to improve their speed of learning about relevant topics (like the flash cards we used to learn at school)
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  • They use Social Technologies to share information and improve collaboration: Like Yammer / Slack to reduce email traffic (we all know that we use so much time writing/reading emails..)
  • They work with Trello board to have a full transparency of the changes


IIH Nordic invested in a lot of different tools, which increase the employees’ productivity & efficiency. They trained their employees to use the tools that help their jobs (that’s crucial!)

“One single tool can provide the effect equivalent to hundreds of hours of work or hundreds of employees” publishes every year an overview of all the tools available to make our work easier, here is an overview:

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In 2011, 150 tools were available / in 2019 -> 7,040 tools


In order to succeed, they had to change as well their way of working:

  • They changed their meeting culture: from 30/60 to 20/45 min. They have a meeting timer and they mostly do meetings after lunch: as people are usually tired beginning of afternoon, they don’t loose time and go to the point! -> more efficient

They track their meeting times to have a better overview and saved 480 hours/month in total.

  • They use the Pomodoro technique: focus on your work for 25 min, then take a 5 min break. They use red/green lights above the screen to indicate if they are busy or not. (an alternative is to use the method “Frog Off” 🙂 like explained in my previous article)
  • They use music to increase concentration (we apparently do less mistake when we listen to the appropriate music:
  • Lucky lunch: take a lunch with a colleague picked randomly -> to get to know each other better and improve relationships.

Good relationship -> Increase Trust –> Work better together 

  • They use office vibe for regular survey -> asking regular feedback is key to create more motivation, engagement and happiness at work
  • They exercise 1h every Tuesday during working hours -> being fit unleashes creativity and boosts your energy
  • They use electrical scooters to go to external meetings -> be green and reduce taxi costs
  • When someone is fired, the company feels responsible for the person and helps the person to find a good job
  • They often get together to maintain good relationships within the whole team.

=> Going from 5 to 4 days a week is not an easy change, however if you prepare well, get informed, use the right tools for your work and get everyone on board, we have the proof that it can work!

IIH Nordic is a real example, their employees were included from the beginning, they are motivated, less sick, happier, more productive, creative and efficient. For sure all of these had a great impact on the company. Since then, IIH Nordic increased their productivity, innovations and profit.

They received several awards for their good work. Well Done IIH Nordic

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Who’s next? Are you ready to think about it as least? 

Aurelie Litynski is a Chief Happiness Officer and Founder of Happitude at work. Her mission is increase the awareness on happiness at work in companies and help leaders and employees being successful by creating more work-related happiness in their teams.

Are you interested to implement a strategy where your teams happiness is part of your company’s culture? Let’s get in touch!

Aurelie Litynski writes articles on the topic of happiness at work. You will find them all her Linkedin page.