Is the 4 Day Work-Week Going to Become the Norm?

By Irina Nagy

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Would you like to be able to work only 4 days a week, keep your current salary, have more time to spend with your loved ones and pursue your personal interests? I would! And I know many others who would too! But, do you think a shorter work week could make you more productive?

Today, more and more employees are struggling with achieving a healthy work life balance and fit their hobbies, interests, personal relationships or even doctor appointments into out-of-work hours. Many of them live by the clock and might even be overworked. A report made by the Office of National Statistics states that almost 1 in 5 employees in the UK are working over 45 hours per week.

Some people believe that a shorter work week might be the solution to these problems. But, some fear lower salaries and less benefits. To maintain the same salary, some companies may ask employees to work longer days, i.e. four 10-hour days a week, and fear that the extended daily working hours will have a negative impact on their efficiency and health.

A shorter work week won’t work for every employee or company but, for some professionals, might be a dream come true. A shorter work week can help employees prevent burnout (especially in high stress industries) keep them sane and committed, and can improve their health and boost their well-being.

Apparently, the average employee wastes about two hours per day doing things like browsing the Internet or making personal calls. A shorter work week might just make them realise that if there is less time to work, there is less time to waste and motivate them to focus more on their tasks.

Moreover, a four day work week can increase employee retention rates, reduce energy consumption and cut utility costs.

If office buildings are only open four days per week it means that the light, air-con/heating can be stopped on the remaining 3 days of the week, offering a reduction in energy costs.

A shorter work week will even lower carbon emissions as there will be less time spent idling in traffic so, less greenhouse gases emissions!

In 2008, Utah switched to a four-day workweek for all state offices. This resulted in $1.8 million savings in the first eight months, a 12,000 metric tons reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and 13% reduced energy costs.

In the Netherlands, people work on average 29 hours per week and in Denmark and Norway they work 33 hours. The average salary in the Netherlands is 47.000 U.S. dollars and employees also get mandatory holidays, extensive maternity and paternity leave and flexible work schedules. According to data from the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, all the above mentioned countries are in the top five happiest nations in the world. So, there must be a link between employee happiness and the amount of days they spend at work…

People in the UK work some of the longest hours in Europe. The NHS believes that this is the main cause of stress, sleep problems and reduced productivity. Doctors have recommended that people switch to a four-day week to prevent and fight high blood pressure and mental health problems.

Recent surveys have found that as many as 71% of UK citizens think that a shorter work week would increase their happiness so, they should probably have a better chance of getting it.

What do you think? Is the 40-hour work week going to soon be a thing of the past?

At Investigo we recognise and reward people for their achievements and offer a comprehensive benefits scheme as well as a brilliant work-life balance. Click here to find out more about us and here to see what our employees say about their life at Investigo.

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