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A 4-day work week?

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Dec 2, 2022

It seems like there's been a lot of buzz recently around the concept of a 4-day workweek. I've always been pretty agnostic on the issue, probably part due to the fact that I enjoy my job and part due to just general ignorance. Anyway, I decided to finally look into the burgeoning movement and this is what I found: 

The idea isn't new. After advances made during the industrial revolution paved the way for a reduction of the 6-day work week to a 5-day one in the early 1900's, it seemed only natural that a 4-day workweek would follow:

"In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes estimated that technological change and productivity improvements would make a 15-hour work week possible within a couple of generations.[4] Other notable people throughout history to predict continuing reductions in working hours include United States (US) Founding Father Benjamin FranklinKarl Marx, British philosopher John Stuart Mill, and playwright George Bernard Shaw. In 1956, then US Vice President Richard Nixon promised Americans they would only have to work four days “in the not too distant future”.'' -Wikipedia 

Pilot tests, mainly performed by companies in the U.S. and Ireland, have been positive: 

After six months, most of the 33 companies and 903 workers trialing the schedule, with no reduction in pay, are unlikely ever to go back to a standard working week, according to the organizers of the global pilot program.

None of the 27 participating companies who responded to a survey by 4 Day Week Global said they were leaning towards or planning on returning to their former five-day routine. About 97% of the 495 employees who responded said they wanted to continue with a four-day week. -CNN

Companies running similar pilots in the UK also posted encouraging performances: 

Three months into the UK pilot program, the data reported from participating companies have been encouraging. 4 Day Week Global, spearheading the initiative, wrote that “46% of respondents say their business productivity has ‘maintained around the same level,’ while 34% report that it has ‘improved slightly,’ and 15% say it has ‘improved significantly.” -FastCompany

Honestly, not much of this surprises me. As many of us already know, offices are horribly inefficient places. Knowing they have to clock the same number of hours regardless, many employees spend a fat chunk of time procrastinating. In a similar vain, a great way to boost productivity is to give yourself short time limits for tasks. A 4 day workweek is just like a macro version of a 20-minute deadline for a report draft. 

But would this work in the utility industry? For many of the corporate office jobs I think it would. Technicians and the like, however, have to be on call for problems that don't follow any schedule. 

What do you think?


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Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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