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Post: Will the four-day work week finally come to pass? – Computerworld



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European countries may be ahead of the curve on shorter work weeks, with the UK and Germany undertaking large-scale trials; Iceland, Portugal, and Spain are also running pilot programs; and Belgium is the first country to pass a law that gives workers the option to work a four-day 40-hour week.

Analyzing the benefits

A shortened work week can help companies attract top talent, boost employee retention, reduce employee stress, lower the carbon footprint of employees (and potentially that of the company), and save employees money on commuting and childcare. The largest benefit, however, is a major boost to work-life balance, which appears to foster an increase in work productivity. (Check out this list of pros and cons of the 4-day work week.) 

The concurrent arrival of a host of generative AI tools should also bolster productivity, mitigating any risks when switching to a four-day work week. 

Those who oppose the notion might see productivity as chiefly measured by time — so many minutes equals so much productivity. And that might be true for assembly-line manufacturing, for example; the four-day work week isn’t for every company.

For many other jobs where what’s being created is intellectual property, ideas, strategic plans, sales, marketing, and software, for instance, intellectual acuity is the essential ingredient — and burn-out is a very real challenge in such roles. To be sharp, you need to be well-rested in mind and body. A four-day work week could well boost productivity in that kind of environment. 

Even before the pandemic, some companies had begun to loosen up. Casual Fridays became work-at-home Fridays, for instance. Switching to working four days a week seems like a natural progression in that scenario.

Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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