The four-day working week is jointly implemented by Oxford University, Cambridge University, and Boston College in the United States, 4 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and Autonomy Think Tank.
New York, NY (Merxwire) – The UK is implementing the largest “three days off” in history. Since the 6th of this month that 70 companies and more than 3,300 workers will conduct the experiment, regarded as the world’s largest experiment of shortening the working week, it has caused a wave of discussion. People want to know that Is possible to work fewer hours while maintaining the same capacity?
Long working hours and high pressure have always been the most common problems for workers. According to the world population survey, the global working hours in 2019 ranged from 40 to 50 hours per week. Working five days a week is equivalent to working 8-10 hours daily. The long working hour could make you tired and overworked to physical injury. Until the new crown epidemic changed the way people work, employees and even managers began to think, do we need to spend so long in the office?
The global “four-day working week” has been around for a long time. Since Iceland launched the social experiment of working four days a week in 2015, many companies in Spain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have responded. According to the research results, although working hours are reduced, work efficiency is improved, employees’ happiness is increased, and work-life balance is more balanced, which is a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
“four-day working week” is not unique to European and American countries. Since 2021, Japan’s annual economic policy guidelines have called for companies to adopt a working system four days a week, and 8.5% of companies have responded so far. In addition, South Korea and Indonesia have gradually followed suit, and some companies have begun to work four days a week.
Even the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East has joined this trend, announcing a “2.5-day weekly holiday” starting from December 7, 2021. Employe will have a four-and-a-half day working week after the shift, with the weekend beginning on Friday afternoon and lasting until Sunday. The change is significant, given that Friday has long been a sacred day for worshippers of Islam. Most countries in the Gulf have Friday to Saturday weekends. The extended weekend will make boost productivity and improve work-life balance.
During the epidemic, many people use remote work, saving commuting time and money costs and making work types and hours more flexible. However, workers are more concerned about whether their wages will be deducted rather than taking vacations. In this experiment of shortening the working day, although only four days a week are worked, employees’ salaries will not be reduced. An extra day off will allow employees time to socialize and care for family and self-health. For companies, it also helps attract and retain quality employees.
Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College in the United States and the principal investigator of the experimental project, said they would study the responses of employees to taking an extra day off, including stress, fatigue, job, and life satisfaction, health, sleep status, energy use, travel, or other areas of life to find out if an extra day off can create happier employees for higher productivity.
Not only are workers satisfied with the “four-day working week, but” the planet is also an unexpected beneficiary. The Autonomy research team said that working four days a week in the UK reduces carbon emissions equivalent to the carbon emissions of 1.3 million cars, and people’s carbon footprint is also reduced after daily commuting, which is relatively environmentally friendly.