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  • Nicole Sherwin

Why we need the four-day workweek

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

As a big fan of not wasting my time, this is the efficiency I need.

Source: MTV

The four day work week seems like a lazy girl's dream, but believe it or not, it's actually a concept where you're actually encouraged to work more, not less. It turns out that despite our 'eight hours a day, five days a week' official work situation, we don't really work all that much. Who knew?! Um, probably all of us who have spent the whole workday in the office switching between making cups of Nescafe Blend 43 and going to the toilet 525 times to hide the fact we're actually not doing any work. But just like that Bogan Dust coffee, the five-day workweek also belongs in the bin. So may I present, why it's time to get around the four-day workweek:

We spend nearly 2/3 of the workweek not working

Source: GiPHY

There's a bunch of research into productivity at work which suggests that we are productive for a maximum of three hours in a day. Most of the research suggests it’s actually more like 1.5 hours. Yet we are forced to be 'on the clock' for a minimum of eight hours per day. It seems like we're wasting a shit load of time with an Excel spreadsheet up on the screen to fain work, when we could be doing far more productive things with our time, like watching Schitt's Creek for the 15th time.

The concept of 9-5 is older than anything on Antiques Roadshow

Source: GiPHY

The 9-5 workweek is a concept that stemmed from the Industrial Revolution that began in 1760. Back then, people also believed potatoes caused leprosy, the Earth was the centre of the universe and you could cure illness with a tobacco enema! So you know, times change and research becomes a pretty handy thing.

The four day workweek actually increases productivity

Source: GiPHY

The legend behind the four day work week, Andrew Barns, pulled out the old Texas Instrument and calculated that staff only needed to be 40 more minutes more productive per day in a four day work week to be more efficient than the current situation. By paying the same wage but offering a four-day workweek, he concluded staff were happier, productivity increased by 6% and profitability increased by 12%. In Japan, Microsoft also found their productivity increased by 40% with a four day work week.

It's a huge win for parents

Source: GiPHY

It also allows us to spend more time with our children and levels out the playing field when we're applying for jobs. We're not at a disadvantage by requesting a four-day workweek when the rest of candidates can happily do five. It's also a win for businesses who can actually hire the best candidate, not only the childless ones. Plus, if we're being more productive at work and not minimising The Daily Mail every time our boss walks past our screen, we can feel slightly less guilty about missing our child's first steps.

It's good news for our mental health

Source: GiPHY

We all know we'd be far less stressed if we had one day off a week for life admin/doing absolutely nothing and a 2019 research paper from the Henley Business School agrees. Over 78% of businesses who adopted the four-day workweek reported happier employees. It had clear positive benefits on physical health and family life too.

It's good business

Source: GiPHY

The Henley Business School study found that the 250 businesses operating on a four-day week on full pay made an estimated annual saving of $175 billion (£92 billion). Nearly two-thirds reported an increase in productivity and quality of work. Additionally, the business can be green without even trying - less staff means less energy bills. Microsoft Japan found their electricity bill dropped by 23%.

There's a but...

Source: GiPHY

You don't just get to scroll Facebook all day and have a day off with the same pay. You do actually have to be more productive. Put your phone away and copy and paste this article into a PowerPoint presentation for your boss. For an extra day of brunch and Netflix in exchange for 40 minutes more productivity? It's totally doable.

Thirsty for more? Enlighten your earholes with a new ep of the Large Almond Latte Podcast every Tuesday.


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