Calling for a Four-Day Work Week!
I recently wrote about restructuring work in a broad systematic way–such as moving to a four-day work week or creating a basic income program that would allow us to work fewer hours per week–could make us happier and healthier, not to mention able to be better caregivers.
There’s a real political movement underway to make this vision more than a pipe dream, and I’d like to introduce you some organizations and research that can help us make a healthier work week a reality.
The bottom line? Political movements for a four-day work week are much bigger in Europe where most countries have better social safety nets and workplace protections than in the US.
So we need to start supporting these movements in the US if we also want to get serious about protecting our mental and physical health from overwork.
The 4 Day Week Campaign is a great place to start if you want to learn some of the basics of the political movement in the UK. Check out their intro video to find out their vision, and definitely follow them on Twitter.
Banner from the 4 Day Week Campaign website.
One book you might consider reading is Shorter: Work Better, Smarter, and Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Pang researched companies around the world that reduced the weekly workload for their employees in various ways, and he draws some important conclusions. (If you don’t have time to read the book, you can also wait for my upcoming book review!)
This study, conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, is one of the most widely cited reports used to help make the case for a four-day work week. The study, which surveyed workers internationally, reports that 45% of workers worldwide say that they could complete their work in less than five hours each day if they worked without interruption.
If you need more evidence that cutting hours boosts productivity, just check out this study conducted by Microsoft in its Japan offices last year.
I also recommend reading the Gerald Huff Fund for Humanity is doing to rethink work and champion basic income. There are real issues with a basic income concept, and the Fund for Humanity is trying to tackle these problems.
It’s also important to keep in mind that moving workers from an hourly payment model to a salaried model–or else significantly increasing per hour wages–would be necessary to transition many workers to a four-day work week. Minimum-wage workers already struggle to make ends meet, and slashing hours could be disastrous. To transition folks in in this situation to reduced-hours schedule would require a new pay structure.
And one more article, if you’re worried about this, I’d suggest reading about how working long hours is related to perceptions of manliness and heroic behavior. It’s 2020, guys, there’s no need to kowtow to these concepts anymore!
Do you know any good resources or research for structuring the work day and the work week? Let me know! I’ll keep adding to this list over the coming weeks and months.
Plus, I have a big announcement: I have a website redesign in the works! Along with my redesign, I’ll be publishing some interview by activists working for advocacy organizations calling for better work structures, flexible and remote options, and paid leave.