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Should governments back a four-day working week?

Economic justice, gender equality, worker wellbeing- surely this is a hat trick worth worth pursuing? Throw in increased productivity and it feels like this is what innovation looks like. Read an extract of the Apolitical article below or the full article here.



Extract: Last week, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based financial services company, announced that a big gamble had paid off. It had offered its 240-strong workforce a four-day working week without reducing their pay — and saw a 20% jump in productivity and rising profits alongside falls in stress… The four-day week could transform three aspects of the UK economy: gender equality, economic justice and worker wellbeing.

That third benefit could be the biggest payout. In the UK, 15.4 million working days were lost to work-related stress, anxiety or depression in 2017/18. Some one in four sick days were directly related to workplace stress. And the UK’s not alone.

In the US, on any given day, one million workers are off sick with stress.

“There’s a crisis of overwork in UK workplaces,” said Aidan Harper, a researcher at the New Economics Foundation and organiser at the Four Day Week Campaign. “It’s a huge drag on the economy, and the human cost is immense.”

A four-day week, meanwhile, could create free time to pursue hobbies or interests, and let people better fulfil countless other roles outside the workplace as parents, carers, volunteers or community organisers.