The traditional five-day workweek has only been around for about a century. And it was popularized by Henry Ford, the car entrepreneur. Question: Are you still driving a Ford vehicle these days?
A pilot program in the U.K. might help spell the end of the 40-hour/5-day workweek—at least if its success can be reproduced and adopted widely. Launched last summer, this pilot program tested whether 3,000 employees would benefit from a reduced workweek of 32 hours with no reduction in pay.
The results sound pretty damn great if you love three-day weekends. Sixty-one companies participated; only three said they wouldn't continue any part of the program. As reported by The Washington Post, "...employees reported a variety of benefits related to their sleep, stress levels, personal lives and mental health… Companies’ revenue 'stayed broadly the same' during the six-month trial, but rose 35 percent on average when compared with a similar period from previous years. Resignations decreased."
The issue of work-life balance has gotten more heated as people transition back to offices following three years of Covid-19 shutdowns and as businesses are dealing with labor shortages, quiet quitting, and The Great Resignation. The study seems to suggest that the biggest perceived risk of going to a shorter workweek—loss of productivity and profit—might be a myth.
Nevertheless, not everyone is on board with killing five-day weeks. Says The Post: "Opponents of the four-day workweek say while the policy may benefit some workers, it is not feasible for many, including workers in key industries such as child care and health care, which already face widespread staff shortages. Some workers would rather work more and earn more."
Give workers a (weekly) break. It's not like they're taking vacations anyway.
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