As a part of our People First agenda, KPMG Finland introduced a four-day workweek pilot at the end of last summer. The pilot took place in August & September 2023. In short, all full-time employees were given an opportunity to work four days per week while receiving 90% salary. Participating in the pilot was completely voluntary and the only requirement was that every participant’s workload during the pilot period was manageable in a four-day workweek. It was also possible to adjust the initial plan in case the workload of the participant so required, allowing some flexibility.
Matti Haapamäki works in the Application Technologies team that focuses on KPMG’s portfolio applications, i.e., the applications that have been developed by KPMG Finland’s own team. In his day-to-day work, Matti focuses on both leading the team members, as well as developing the applications.
“As a parent of two small children, I often lack the time to focus on developing my own skills further by being active with my own projects. As any parent of small children knows, the official workday is often followed by the unofficial part, and there is not a lot of time left for any other activities. I became curious about the pilot experiment as I realized that it would allow me to dedicate one day of the week to continuous learning, which I felt was needed to further develop my own skills and knowledge.
It is rare that our team would have a lot of downtime, but when I first brought up the possibility to participate in the pilot, my manager was positive about it, and we decided that it was worth it to give it a go. To keep up to date with progress, we discussed several metrics to find out more about the success rate of the pilot experiment amongst our team. Besides hard data about how our work time is spent, subjective metrics like how energetic the people taking part in the pilot experiment felt, compared to the those who were not, were considered as well. In our team, about one third decided to participate. Naturally, everyone had their own reasons as to why they were taking part in the pilot experiment, but measuring the effectiveness was nevertheless important.
Personally, the pilot was a successful one. I was able to start one new project where I got to use my professional skills, I became more active on LinkedIn and grew my professional network and started going to the gym, which in turn helped both my health and mental wellbeing. In other words, I was able to bring back the “me time” I was missing as a parent living through my children’s toddler years.
While I do not feel that I was able to manage to cram five days’ worth of work into four days – which was not the purpose of the pilot experiment to begin with – I was able to work in an effective manner and stay productive. The trickiest part of the experiment was to ensure that my partial leave of absence would not have a negative effect on anyone else’s work, meaning that the occasional delays in responding due to the one additional day off per week did not block anyone else’s progress with their tasks.
All in all, I would definitely continue working four days per week based on the experience – especially if the flexibility the pilot allowed would be possible, whereby the number of workdays per week would alternate depending on a participant’s workload.”