Today, millions of people are overworked across every business sector. While workers once fought for the 8-hour workday, that principle has largely been abandoned. Today, workers are toiling away for 10, 12, and more hours per day, and very often not receiving appropriate compensation for their efforts. In response, there’s renewed interest in a 4-day work week with proponents offering a list of tempting benefits of the shorter work schedule.
More Work for More People
Instituting a shorter work week across the board means that there will be more work for a larger number of employees. Currently, some people are working 60 to 80 hours per week, while others are lucky to obtain a mere 20 or 30. By creating a shorter work week, those hours would be more fairly divided, reducing unemployment and underemployment.
A shorter work week will help boost productivity, resulting in enhanced quality of work being accomplished in shorter time. For evidence of that, we only need to look to our European neighbors. Take Germany, for instance. Their workers put in fewer hours, but the country has one of the strongest economies in the world. The same goes for the Dutch. And a recent study in Sweden looked at the effects of switching to a 6-hour workday for nursing home workers. The employees took fewer sick days and the workers were more efficient in performing their duties.
Reduce Illness and Workplace Accidents
Overworking employees may help meet deadlines, but the cost may be too great. Long hours lead to tired, burned out employees, which can cause poor work quality. Additionally, being over tired can cause workers to feel stressed, depressed, and anxious. In addition to causing higher instances of illness, greater levels of stress can increase the chances of serious workplace accidents. By reducing each employee’s hours, businesses can create a stronger and healthier workforce.
The fight for a shorter work week isn’t just about giving people more leisure time. It’s also about reducing illness and stress in the population. We know that mental conditions, such as stress and depression, can physically affect the body, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and degenerative diseases. Consequently, reducing work weeks can actually help businesses by increasing productivity and by maintaining a healthier workforce in the long term. Overall, a 4 day work week can benefit individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole. It’s a winning strategy for all!