4 Reasons It’s Time For A 4-Day Work Week
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Want to make employees happier and more productive? Give them a four-day work week. Research suggests a 4-day work week won’t just make us happier — it will actually make us more productive.
Salon takes a look at why a shorter work-week is a good idea whose time has come.
1. Makes workers more productive.
Experiments with shortening the work-week have yielded positive results on the productivity front. When the state of Utah put public workers on a four-day schedule in the wake of the recession, worker productivity increased, along with customer satisfaction. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Jason Fried, who runs the software company 37signals, reports that his employees do better work during their four-day weeks. As he puts it,
“When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time.”
2. Good for the environment.
One day less at work means reduced electricity use and less time spent driving. Fewer commuters during the traditional rush hours makes travel quicker for everybody, which means less time spent idling in traffic and churning out less greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
According to a report from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, a global shift to shorter working hours could reduce carbon emissions enough to halve additional expected global warming between now and 2100.
3. Makes employees happier.
Spending more time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies and interests outside of work, and engaging with the community are all things that boost well-being and keep employees, sane, focused and committed to their jobs.
Ryan Carlson of Treehouse says he finds his workers “invigorated and excited” when they come in after a three-day weekend. He also finds that it’s easier both to recruit and retain workers with a four-day work-week policy, because their lives are more balanced and they feel much happier.
4. Creates a healthier workforce.
John Ashton, a prominent physician in the U.K., has called for a switch to the four-day work-week to reduce stress. Citing what he calls a “maldistribution of work” that is damaging people’s health, Ashton notes that problems like high-blood pressure and addiction could be improved by going to the four-day work-week.
Many of the health problems Americans face, like obesity, joint pain, sleep problems, and heart-related illnesses, are linked to too many hours spent sitting in chairs. Healthier workers means fewer sick days and a workforce that feels better and more energized.
The shorter work-week is the wave of the future. To see all the ways that working less is the key to success, check out the full article on Salon here.
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