The student news site of St. Louis School, Milan

Spirit of St. Louis

The student news site of St. Louis School, Milan

Spirit of St. Louis

The student news site of St. Louis School, Milan

Spirit of St. Louis

4-DAY WORK WEEK: TIME FOR SOME CHANGE

Are you tired of working and studying constantly for 5 days in a row? Do you wish there would be more time to rest? Well, it seems like the idea will soon make its way up to the surface.

 

A 4-day work week is a system in which people work four days per week, instead of five. Since they’re being paid the same amount of money, employees would have to do an equal amount of work but in a shorter amount of time, increasing productivity and having an extra day-off. It is aimed to improve work-life balance, reduce stress for workers and increase rest to boost productivity. In fact, several countries have already tried this system, with several approving it. Among them are Iceland, UK, New Zealand, Belgium, Japan, Spain, USA, Lithuania,  UAE, France and many more, according to 2024 resources. 

 

ADVANTAGES

 

Such a system has many advantages, as it offers more work-life balance for workers. Indeed, many employees face mental health problems due to burning out at work constantly, while others lack time to spend at home with their families and rest. The four-day work week offers additional time to recover from constant stress, handle household responsibilities and spend quality time with loved ones. 

 

Other than the obvious social benefit, a 4-day work week can also benefit our environment. Recent 2022 research shows that if the system is established across the UK, the carbon footprint from cars would decrease by more than 20%, as millions of people would stop using cars on Fridays to go to work. 

 

From a financial perspective, the following system would bring economic benefits for the country, as people would be more likely to spend more money on their extra day-off. People would start to explore their talents and, perhaps, build hobbies which require money to sustain. 

 

Having said all that, the following benefits result in better-rested, happier employees which are then ready to increase productivity throughout the week. 

 

DISADVANTAGES

While there are many advantages of the 4-day work week, not everything is as easy as it seems. There are still logistical problems on what to do with the workforce that is required constantly, such as doctors, nurses, drivers, that aren’t on office schedule. 

 

Moreover, the older and very young generations will have a hard time speeding up and doing all the work in four days when being used to five. That issue might have major consequences, as older people are required in jobs where experience is crucial, such as psychologists, doctors, teachers and professors, while students in elementary schools are more likely to get tired if they would have to study and increase focus to comprehend information in just four days. 

In addition, nowadays social media is so popular and addicting, that younger generations would likely use their extra day-off to spend more time on their phones or computers, rather than hang out with their friends or productively spend their time cultivating new hobbies or interests. 

 

COUNTRIES’ TRIALS

As mentioned above, several counties have already tried and established the system of a 4-day work week. Here are a couple examples of how different countries dealt with the 4-day work week experience:

 

Belgium

Belgium was the first country in Europe to legislate the 4-day work week. It was established in February 2022, giving the workers freedom to request to work 4 days per week instead of five.

Unlike many countries with the same system, which reduce required work hours to 32 per week- 8 hours per day in 4 days, Belgium’s introduced a 4/10 plan, which maintains the 40 hours per week requirement, switching from 8 hours per 5 days a week to 10 hours per 4 days a week. That system additionally allows people to ignore their authorities if trying to be reached on their day-off. 

However, despite the freedom of choice, many Belgians still prefer to work 5 days a week, as it gives them more time to complete what is required. 

 

Iceland

Iceland has also approved the system of a 4-day work week, and now has the biggest number of employees working 4 days in the world. During the trials, Iceland has cut working hours from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours, having workers to still do the same amount of work. The system is considered to be a huge success, and by now roughly 86% of the employees work 4 days a week.

 

UK

In the United Kingdom the system still wasn’t established completely, but the trials were made and considered to be a major success. The trials involved 61 companies and more than 2,900 workers, and lasted 6 months. After the trials, 86-92% of the companies that participated stated that they are likely to stick to the four-day work week plan, as the results were successful. 

 

CONCLUSION

As shown by the trials above, the 4-day work week can be considered as a success. Despite the fact that a few questions still require solutions, the system has many benefits, mainly because it allows people to have more balanced lives, maintain a mentally healthy lifestyle and spend more time alone or with their families. 

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