July 4, 2020

What would happen if we worked only four days a week?

Other experts are committed to flexible hours to improve work and family reconciliation

Spain is a country supported by the service sector in which the face-to-face It is a key factor, regardless of the day of the week. Employees in this area are more than accustomed to overtime and having to work during holidays due to the large influx of customers. In this context, the proposal of a four-day workday without loss of salary is presented as an attractive option, but perhaps not applicable to the needs of all businesses and their employees.

In Spain, The average hours worked per week is 36, but, for example, France 25 years ago introduced 35 hours per week. Sweden has come to experiment with the six-hour day and Denmark has an average of 29 hours of work, the lowest of all industrialized countries, according to the OECD. Reducing work time has always been linked to an improvement in conciliation and quality of life. If, in addition, this change provides an increase in productivity, a four-hour workday could be the future of work. More Country, the party of Íñigo Errejón, included this proposal in its electoral program. “We will promote the necessary legislative changes to, taking advantage of technological advances and productivity increases, reduce the working day without loss of salary to 32 hours per week in the framework of the next decade, trying that in most of these sectors it translates into a 4-day workday, ”the document notes.

Along these lines, the Oberta University of Catalonia (UOC) collects in its article "Working 4 days a week improves the quality of life and productivity" a survey of more than 2,000 employees and 500 English businessmen indicating that 77% of Workers saw a clear link between a four-day day and a better quality of life. In addition, 64% of the bosses observed that productivity and quality of work had increased due to a reduction in sick leave days and a general increase in well-being. But not everyone ends up convincing this measure. Despite the benefits, 45% of workers Respondents were worried because spending less time at work could make colleagues think they were lazy.

Some companies have already tested this schedule. The most prominent was the New Zealand Perpetual Guardian which allowed its 240 employees to reduce to four days worked per week. The result was that staff stress levels decreased by 7%. Following this trend, Microsoft Japan He also experimented with this new day. The shortened weeks increased the productivity of its 2,300 workers by 40%. Another version of that day is to combine the usual 40 hours in four days instead of the usual five. This option is no longer as desirable. Extending the day from eight to 10 hours can cause problems of tiredness and fall in productivity after so many hours of work in a single day. Another impediment may be the difficulty of combining a 10-hour schedule with that of other establishments, such as supermarkets or schools.

These inconveniences make many experts doubt the effectiveness of this short day. Work flexibility is presented as the best option for these dissenting voices. Being locked up for 10 hours in an office or doing physical work does not seem the best way to increase day-to-day reconciliation. Therefore, a day that is able to adapt to the specific needs of each worker is shown as an equal or more desirable solution. In short, all the advantages and disadvantages of the options presented have nuances. The preference for one or the other will depend on the type of business and the wishes of its workers.

. (tagsToTranslate) Conciliation (t) Work

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