Is it time for a 4 day work week?
Is it time for a 4 day work week?
This week, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) argues that the working week should be reduced to 4 days. The reason being that new technology can make our jobs more efficient. Frances O’Grady, the general secretary for the TUC, argues that employees should be getting a higher salary and a longer weekend as too many organisations are devouring the gains from new tech without providing a better work/life balance to their employees.
The prime example of this is, of course, Amazon. The American giant is notorious for having an unfair and exploitative work environment, with many employees working unpredictable hours and without any proper contracts. A trillion dollar-company, who has the latest technology at their fingertips, making many of their staff work more than 45 hours each week – with limited toilet breaks? Seriously?
The question is whether a 4-day week will work in every industry?
As society evolves with the advancing technology, we have demanded more and more industries to become 24/7 and “always online”. Instant service is now ubiquitous. The popularity of next day delivery has sparked a demand for drivers and warehouse workers to work even longer hours to ensure that we receive our parcel within the expected time slot. Can a 4-day work week really be successfully implemented – without impacting productivity?
We think so.
It’s a proven fact that staff who have a better work/life balance are happier, more motivated, and essentially more productive. And the TUC suggests that implementing a 4-day week across the nation is in fact very plausible. “In the 19th century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour work day. In the 20th century, we won the right to two-day weekend and paid holidays,” explains Frances O’Grady. “So, for the 21st century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a 4-day working week, with decent pay for everyone.”
However, a 4-day working week is not an entirely new concept. Companies of all sizes around the globe have adopted a shorter week with staff productivity going through the roof. Take us, for example. Our introduction of a shorter working week has reduced staff sickness rates and decreased our turnover rate with no loss of salary or benefits. When our Operations Manager Lorraine spoke about our implementation of a 4-day working week at TEDx this year, she was approached by several other organisations who had experienced the same benefits.
There is no doubt that a better work/life balance can lead to happier, more productive staff.
Do you believe it’s too good to be true? And, perhaps more importantly, can it apply to all industries?
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