Many of us dream of working less. Some, therefore, reduce their working hours to a 4-day week, despite lower pay. But so they have more time to play at Vave.
Doing four days of work to rest on the fifth. This is how some people imagine the everyday life of those who work only four days a week. But adjusted working hours not only mean that people have more time for relaxation.
You spend less money on useless things. Many see it as a great privilege. One is very grateful that one does not have to work full-time to earn a living. For many people, such a reduction in working hours is probably not so easily possible financially. Many who already enjoy a short work week have noticed that they actually spend less money and overall manage their money better.
Everyday life is even easier now; you have less leisure time and stress and don’t feel rushed as often as before. You use your time primarily for hobbies: meeting friends, doing sports, or whatever you like, like making music. You can even invest the time to learn a new foreign language. It is also much easier to fit in appointments such as doctor’s visits. Now you don’t have to take a day off to do that. But sometimes, you can just be lazy on the extra day off. Or maybe you set yourself the goal of doing some volunteer work.
The bottom line: You have the feeling that having more time for compensation at work makes you more focused, and sometimes you even accomplish more than you did when you worked 40 hours. For this reason, many are of the opinion that the model can also have advantages for employers.
Is It More Stress?
People who want to reduce their working hours to four days often have specific plans for the 5th day. Some want to enjoy their free time, and others want to pursue private projects. In other cases, it may be about part-time continuing education at a university that one would like to tackle.
This can take up to half a year. The workload should be about 8-10 hours per week in normal circumstances. You can ask your employer if you can take one day off per week. But this means for the people who are choosing to do this a lot more stress. And even, in some cases, burnout. So as one can see, there are not only benefits.
What About the Other Side?
The four-day week is intended to provide employees with relief and a better work-life balance. A study in Great Britain with 73 companies and a total of 3,300 employees provides information on the extent to which company productivity changes as a result of a four-day week with reduced working hours and unchanged wages. The 4 Day Week Global initiative has now reported on the mid-term results. The result: the participating companies did not record any loss of productivity; in some cases, there was even a significant increase.
Companies are taking part in the world’s largest pilot project to date from June to November. They come from a variety of industries, including advertising, insurance, finance, healthcare, retail, and hospitality. The study is scientifically supervised by experts from Cambridge University, Boston College, and Oxford University, as well as the Autonomy think tank.
The Results of the Survey
The midterm survey, in which 41 of 73 companies participated, found the following results:
- Eighty-eight percent of respondents say a four-day workweek is working “well” for the company at this stage of the experiment.
- Forty-six percent of participant companies say company productivity has “stayed about the same.”
- Thirty-four percent of participants observe a “slight” improvement in productivity.
- Fifteen percent report that productivity has even improved “significantly.”
According to the survey, the transition to a four-day workweek went smoothly in the majority of companies. Continuing the work model after the experiment is considered by 86 of the respondents.
Four-day weeks in other countries
Trials similar to the one in the UK also started in other countries. In Austria, Lidl announced that office workers would be able to work their standard 38.5 hours in a four-day week. However, the working hours remain the same; they are just redistributed.
In Belgium, the government agreed this year to allow full-time employees to work longer hours per day in order to complete the required hours in four days and have one day off per week.
In Iceland, researchers conducted a study with two field trials in 2015 and 2017. This study also shows an improvement in the work-life balance of employees and consistent productivity and performance of employees.
Even though studies have recorded successes, there is criticism of the four-day week model. According to some experts, the four-day week cannot solve all existing problems. Accordingly, while society seems to be open to such models, it is an illusion to earn the same money in a four-day week as in a five-day workweek. Maybe you work more productively, but you still manage less than in a five-day week.