The Four Day Work-Week Is Alive And Kicking


You may have heard about the four-day workweek pilot in the U.K. In 2022, 61 companies participated in the six-month experiment, allowing their full-time employees to work just four days a week. The employees were paid the same and didn’t have to work any extra hours on those four days, nor did they have to delete TikTok from their phones.

A whole year has passed since the pilot ended, and at least 54 companies (89 percent) are continuing the four-day workweek policy, with 31 making it permanent, according to researchers from the think tank Autonomy, who helped organize the experiment with the groups 4-Day Week Campaign and 4 Day Week Global.

According to surveys, employees at these companies are enjoying better physical and mental health. Their work-life balance and job satisfaction have also improved. As one employee said, “I love my job, now that I don’t have to do it as much.” Indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Just ask all the kids who look forward to school after summer break. Some of them are even eager to see the algebra teacher again.

In a similar way, getting three days off work can help you recharge your batteries and allow more time for the dissipation of any hatred you feel for your boss. If you’re lucky enough to have a great boss, it might be a co-worker that you need to recover from.

Employees in the UK experiment worked an average of 31.6 hours in four days, a reduction from 38.2 in five days. Not all of them got the same days off. Some were actually saying “Thank God it’s Monday.” And others found themselves feeling the Friday morning blues.
What about company productivity? Surely it took a nosedive. Not necessarily. Almost half of the companies reported that overall performance either stayed the same or improved. Employees worked hard at being more efficient. They had shorter meetings and spent less time discussing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The four-day workweek experiment appears to be a rousing success, but you are probably asking yourself, “How does this affect me?”

Well, if you currently work five days a week, the dream of working four days isn’t just a fantasy anymore. You might be able to pull it off, depending on your field and the leverage that you and your co-workers possess (having compromising pics of your boss helps). You might have to work 9- or 10-hour days to appease your boss and you might have to be far more efficient in your Instagram scrolling.

If you currently work six days a week, as many people do in India, China and other countries, the four-day workweek may seem like a pipe dream. But perhaps it will help convince your employer that a five-day workweek wouldn’t be so bad.

Of course, there are many industrialists and others who want workers to be married to their jobs. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba Group, believes in the “996” schedule, expecting employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for six days a week. That’s 72 hours, including meal times. No time for family. If your mom calls, you’ll have to hang up quickly. “Sorry Ma, I work for Ma.”

Convincing Jack Ma of the benefits of fewer work days won’t be easy. If you’ve been making 200 gadgets in six days and tell him that you can continue making 200 in five days instead, he’ll say, “If you can make 200 in five days, you should be making 240 in six days. Why are you slacking off like this?”

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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