Should We Shorten the Workweek? The Case for a Four-Day Workweek

A growing number of workers around the world are calling for a shorter workweek, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis has brought this idea to the forefront of labor reform discussions. In addition to demands for pay raises and job security, the UAW is advocating for a 32-hour, four-day workweek with no reduction in pay.

The push to shorten the workweek has gained momentum in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work fueling the demand for increased flexibility in work schedules. Furthermore, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace has sparked questions about the necessity of a 40-hour week. Senator Bernie Sanders has long been an advocate for a shorter workweek, recognizing that advancements in technology have made workers more productive.

Countries such as the United Kingdom have already conducted trials of the four-day workweek, with positive outcomes. A six-month trial involving 2,900 workers across 61 companies in the UK showed that participants experienced improved sleep, more quality time with their families, and reduced levels of burnout. Similar results were seen in Iceland, where a study conducted between 2015 and 2019 found that reducing the number of workdays in a week did not lead to a decrease in productivity.

Proponents of a shorter workweek argue that it would provide people with more time for personal activities, such as spending time with family, engaging in cultural activities, and pursuing further education. In a society where stress levels are high and life expectancy is declining, a shorter workweek could contribute to improved well-being.

While implementing a four-day workweek may require adjustments and careful planning, these trials have shown that it is a viable possibility. It is worth considering whether reducing the workweek could lead to greater work-life balance, increased productivity, and overall improvements in the quality of life for workers.

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– UK trial: [Source]
– Iceland study: [Source]