The U.K’s New Four Day Work Week

Imagine a whole new world where three-day weekends are the norm. In recent months, the U.K has implemented this policy as a sort of trial run, and according to studies, it seems to be doing well. Much to the earnest hopes of middle class Americans, this new way of living could be a potential model for a revolutionary change in the way industries function around the world.

What is exactly the motive for a four day work week, though? Well, besides the obvious extra day for recreation, which is idyllic to anyone, there have been numerous proven benefits to shortening the hours spent at the workplace. Just some include increased productivity, higher involvement, and decreased stress levels. Surprisingly enough, this idea was proposed long ago in 1956 by President Nixon, calling it an idea for the “not too distant future.” The possible human need for shortened work weeks can be most abundantly resulted from the high number of burnt out employees. A 2021 Bamboo HR survey found that 79% remote employees feel burnout out on a monthly basis. Due to this extra day off, employers find greater productivity in their employees, which can obviously make a great difference in profits. Of course, however, this survey only pertains to those who work remotely, so what does that mean for people in blue collar positions?

Well, the rules for this experiment haven’t changed. By everyone they mean everyone, so laborers working in the field, in construction, and everything in between can expect the same four day work week as people working office jobs. Many companies are following this pilot program, and apparently over 80% of people in the U.K approve of its existence. 

Another question many may beg is whether or not students can expect the newfound privilege of a shortened week. Truthfully, though, there is no simple answer to this. It is dependent upon the country and area we are talking about. For example, the U.K has not yet extended its policy to children in primary, secondary, and university level education, but countries like Japan, Spain, and Iceland have. Undoubtedly, though, the four day work week applying to parents will be of massive aid to improving and increasing the time spent with their families, which is good all around for social construct.

Just as with anything, however, experts and everyday folk are already evaluating the cons that can be associated with a shortened work week. It is argued that a decreased time spent working leads to lethargic behavior, therefore causing decreased productivity that hurts companies, and in turn, the economy. Some may also simply argue that altering the human routine that has predominantly existed for centuries upon centuries is not a good idea, and will go against habitual norms we have created for ourselves. 

Whatever the answer may be, which we may not know for quite some time, the world can rest assured knowing that the U.K is content with their new normal. While the naysayers could be right, that this extreme measure may not be the answer to solving work related dilemmas, we can hope for solutions in the “not too distant future.”

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