Nicola Sturgeon has pledged government funding to help Scottish businesses test a four-day week, which sparked renewed debate over the idea of shortening working hours.
The prime minister said many people were concerned about work-life balance even before the pandemic hit.
“We want to do more to help people achieve a better balance and help companies employ as many people as possible,” said Ms. Sturgeon.
Critics say reduced working hours would spell economic disaster while supporters point to many benefits, including reduced stress and increased productivity.
Shorter working hours can also be used to distribute work among more people during times of higher unemployment.
A number of studies have demonstrated the positive effects of shorter work weeks. In 2018, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand financial services company, reduced its 240 employees from a five-day week to a four-day week while maintaining their pay.
The company said staff performed the same amount of work after the change. Workers reported stress levels increased from 45% to 38%, while work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%.
The following year, surveys of companies that had adopted a four-day week by researchers at the University of Reading found that 51% of those polled thought the change saved them money.
Of these, 62 percent say their staff take fewer sick days, 63 percent say they produce better quality work, and 64 percent are more productive.
A four-day week is also popular with the public. Three-quarters of UK workers polled by YouGov in 2019 support the policy, while the majority would support public disclosure of personal wages and taxes.
YouGov’s survey, conducted for the employment website Indeed, found that 74 percent of workers believe they could finish their workweek in four days at the same level they currently do in five. . Among millennials, that number has risen to 79%.
Labor has offered to move to a 32-hour week in the 2019 election and similar measures have been adopted or planned in several countries.
Earlier this year, the Spanish government launched a three-year pilot project, using £ 45million of EU funds for midsize businesses to provide a four-day work week for staff.
The funds will cover any additional employers’ costs for one year, after which the support will drop to 50 percent for a year and then to 25 percent, according to plans drawn up by the progressive Más País party that is behind the ‘initiative.
Trial participant Danae De Vries told The Associated Press: “Now I have time to work, see my family and friends, and find enough time to study.
“It’s wonderful to have the time, not to rush around and find some inner peace.”
Reducing the work week to give more time to family and friends, to hobbies, hobbies and relaxation, has been a long-standing idea.
Hours of work declined steadily from the Victorian era to the 1970s, but have since remained relatively stable since then.
Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that the rapid increase in productivity would lead to a 15-hour work week.
Efficient factory production lines would free up workers, leading to an era of “leisure and abundance,” according to Keynes.
Rich countries reached a state of abundance (albeit unequally shared) some time ago, but progress has stalled on increasing leisure time. Perhaps the economic fallout from the pandemic will force governments to reconsider their decision.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 19:37:55