Some of the world’s most productive countries, like Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, on average work around 27 hours a week They are also among the top ten countries with the highest annual salaries. On the other hand, Japan, notorious for overworked employees, ranks as the 20th out of 35 countries for productivity.
Why would business owners allow their employees to work only 4 days a week? Won’t the company suffer as a result? Well, you can thank your new robot coworkers. Technological developments make it possible for employees to accomplish the same amount of work in less time and still ensure customers are supported.
AI technology will significantly disrupt every aspect of every industry in every country including how and when we work. Within the near future, we’re likely to see an increase in remote and more flexible work schedules like the 4 day work week with businesses forced to share the benefits of new technology with their employees.
Perpetual Guardian from New Zealand, are already realizing the benefits of a 4 day work week. Not only does a 4 day work week increase employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, work-life balance and company loyalty. Employees also experienced less stress with a decrease of 45% to 38%, and doesn’t harm their productivity or company output.
A four day work week means the employee would work around 28 hours over four days and have a three-day weekend. In 1890, the United States government estimated that a full-time employee within a manufacturing plant worked an average of 100 hours a week. By the mid-20th century, manufacturing employees only worked 40 hours a week. Reducing our current work week to 28 hours isn’t nearly as radical. Many companies internationally are already trialing the idea with promising results for both employees and employers.
In the UK, two million British people are not currently in employment due to childcare responsibilities and 89% of these people are women. A 4 day work week would promote an equal workplace as employees would be able to spend more time with their families and better juggle care and work commitments.
From 2015 to 2017, Sweden conducted a trial study into a shorter work week. Nurses at a care home worked only 6 hours for five days a week. Results were positive with nurses logging less sick hours, reporting better health and mental wellbeing and greater engagement as they arranged 85% more activities for patients in their care.
Countries with shorter working hours have a smaller carbon footprint so reducing our work week has an environmental benefit too. Employees don’t need to commute as much and large office buildings are in use less. A trial conducted by the US state of Utah for government employees showed a significant ecological impact from reducing the average work week from five to four days. During the first ten months, the project saved over US$1.8m in energy costs and a reduction of at least 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from closing the large office buildings and employees’ commutes. This is equivalent of removing 2,300 cars off the road for one year, simply by working one day less a week!
Unavoidably, new changes will encounter some challenges and disadvantages. Customers complained they were unable to access government services with offices closed on a Friday. Technology, like chatbots and AI-powered websites would allow customers another avenue of support rather than relying on office-based staff members.
The concept of a 4 day work week with compressed hours will actually show decreased levels of productivity and it can also impact employees’ engagement, work-life balance and overall happiness. To achieve the desired effects a 4 day work week of standard 7 hour work days.
Soon technology, particularly AI, will exceed the capabilities of human employees. A 4 day work week is one viable option as technology would make it possible for business to continue as usual while humans can still have meaningful careers with a better work/life balance.
I got a job at a paperless office. Everything was great until I needed to use the bathroom