I, like many people on this planet, wish there was an extra day between Saturday and Sunday, so I can keep up with the never-ending to-do list that comes with being an adult.
If I find myself inebriated on Saturday (likely), Sunday is a write-off and I’m going into Monday with stale corn chips for lunch and a depleted will to live, let alone work. A four-day work week is the obvious answer to a problem that I know is not only my own.
The idea of a four-day work week has been thrown around like hot chips to seagulls for years. The premise is simple: a better work-life balance means workers will be more efficient and effective when they’re clocked on. Less stress, burnout and emissions getting to work. Better sleep, health and job satisfaction.
Taking the ‘Work smarter, not harder’ expression literally, the world’s biggest four-day work week trial in Britain has just kicked off with 3,300 workers across various industries. Everyone from fish and chip shop fry cooks to bank workers will receive exactly the same pay for doing only four days of work, provided they keep up the same level of productivity. Following on from similar trials in Japan, Spain, America, and Ireland, the 4 Day Work Global is being studied by Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College to monitor production levels and markers of wellbeing.
It should be no absolutely no shock to anyone that multiple studies have found that everyone is happier working less. But being happy doesn’t bring in money for the company—or so your uptight CEO will tell you anyway. Technically it’s not really ‘less’ work if you’re one to steadily increase your trips to the toilet and conveniently get your friends to call you as the day nears closer to knock off. Oh, the storeroom needs a complete rearrange and it’s 2 pm? Let’s go.
Chief executive of 4 Day Work Global, Joe O’Connor can understand why there is hesitancy among employers, but the last two years have changed a lot of things, notably how we work. ‘As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge,’ he said.
Don’t get your hopes up yet, it’s only a trial. But hopefully, the data collected through interviews and surveys can be used to dispel the unfounded productivity claims. Personally, I cannot fault the four-day work week. Will I be pitching it to my boss? Probably not, because I am a scared little sook, but let’s just hope the trial works out well and I don’t have to do the work myself (geddit).