I'm not the person for a four-day work week. My typical week is about 50 hours spread over six days a week. But I'm a workaholic, and that's not really a good thing.

The majority of people in the United States, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), worked an average of 34,7 hours in 2021. So, in a way, you could say that we are already in a period of four days. work week

Of course, it is not that simple. The BLS figures also include part-time workers. And these days, according to career analysis firm Zippia, roughly 36% of the US workforce worked in the gig economy in 2020.

The work is complicated.

Still, the idea of ​​working a four-day-a-week workweek is appealing.

Now, in a pilot project in the UK, thousands of employees are working four days a week with no pay cuts. This is the most important work experience of its kind. It involves 3.300 workers at 70 companies, ranging from an auto parts retailer to an animation studio, a marketing agency and a fish and chip shop.

Test whether the "100-80-100" principle can work in the real world. This cryptic term means that workers are paid 100% 80% of the time while working with an expectation of 100% productivity.

The British are not the only ones toying with this idea.

A California bill would have required businesses with more than 500 workers to pay employees the same amount for 32 hours as they do for 40. The bill hasn't moved forward, but it appears it's not dead yet, and could still do another appearance in the Legislature.

Why are companies and governments working on this idea? Well, in case you haven't noticed, burnout has become a real problem for businesses. In recent years, the problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic concerns, political unrest, and global tensions. The last few years have not been easy for anyone.

Some companies have faced more burnout than others.

Anyone in health care knows that burnout has reached epidemic proportions. Burnout from too many rude customers is one of the main reasons frontline workers keep quitting their jobs.

It all adds up: always being available, unfair treatment, a lot of workload, little autonomy, poor pay and lack of social support. This is not the recipe for success.

The wonder is why more people don't join The Great Renunciation. And, to add insult to injury, the more people quit, the greater the burden will be on the shoulders of those who remain in the job.

So maybe, just maybe, if we give people more time away from work, they'll end up being more productive.

it can work I've seen companies that give people "off" days, say one Friday a month, be successful. Your employees are happier and, very importantly these days, they are more likely to stay on the job.

They can also be more productive. A Stanford University study found that overworked employees, a common occurrence in Silicon Valley, are actually less productive than employees who work a normal workweek.

More hours does not mean more productivity. It was never true. and I will never do it

I also think that one of the reasons why working from home is so efficient is that workers no longer waste time on long commutes.

They can make room in their day to take care of the little ones and take the dog to the vet -what do you have-. However, they do not waste time. In addition to being more productive, they simply work longer hours.

It's weird, but that's it; Deep down, people like to be productive.

Can people get their jobs done in 32 hours a week instead of 40? For some jobs, I'm sure they can.

We've got all these new and productive programs, isn't it about time they proved their worth?

For example, many of us now meet via Zoom and no longer waste time meeting in bedrooms, having a cup of coffee, or fiddling with our notebooks. Instead, bang! Here we are. And, once the meeting is over, we continue at our desks.

Of course, this won't work for all jobs.

For example, this fish and chip shop will always need front-line employees, chefs, and other white-collar workers. Still, this can be fixed by simply hiring some extra workers and adjusting shifts.

Even production-line jobs like manufacturing can work better by hiring more assembly-line workers than by working the ones they have until they tire.

I have also seen that although, in theory, people "work" on Fridays, many times this is not the case.

They left early; mentally checked, whatever. I stopped trying to do things on Friday. But, if we have people working four-day shifts, I think we could see higher productivity during the week.

It will work? Stay tuned. We will know soon. And if so, it could be adopted faster than you think. Ford and GM, for example, are closely following the UK study.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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