Finland’s 34-year-old new prime minister, Sanna Marin, has floated the idea of a four-day workweek, but critics call the idea crazy.
However, recent experiments found that a reduced working week boosted productivity.
In August, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week, productivity work shot up by about 40%. One Melbourne organisation found a six-hour working day forced employees to eliminate unproductive activities such as sending pointless emails, sitting in lengthy meetings and cyberloafing (messing around on the internet).
Many British businesses that have successfully switched to a four-day week include Elektra Lighting, Think Productive and Portcullis Legals.
A survey found out that 45% of employees want a four-day week. A study by Henley Business School found 77% of workers had an improved their quality of life after a four-day week.
When the city of Gothenberg in Sweden introduced a six-hour day for some nurses, the nurses became healthier, happier and more energetic.
Reducing working hours is also good for the natural environment. According to some analyses, a shorter working week could also lead to a significant cut in our carbon footprint as employees produce less carbon emissions getting to work.
And since industrial revolution, the number of hours worked has been falling. When working hours in Britain were cut from about 54 hours a week to 48 hours a week in 1919, it had no effect on productivity and competitiveness.
On the other hand, critics worry a shorter working week will create staffing challenges and make it harder to serve customers, while employees worry that working less will make them look lazy and increase operational costs.