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Why should we work four days a week

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    Until recently, the four-day work week seemed like a dream for many people. A three-day weekend promised a slightly happier and more relaxed life. But was it possible?

    Telecommunication also seemed unattainable for a long time and today it has become completely normal in our lives. Could the same thing happen with the four day week? How would this affect our well-being and the progress of companies?

    Well according to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge During July and December of last year, things could be very positive. To verify this, the researchers conducted a pilot test with 61 companies in the United Kingdom and it can be said that the results were very successful.

    ​​​​The researchers found that a 20% reduction in working hours caused workers to take 65% fewer days off work and 57% less to quit. In addition, the risk of burnout at work was reduced by 71% and 39% said they were less stressed compared to how they felt at the start of the trial six months ago.

    The employees said that on their new day off they dedicated themselves to household research such as going shopping or cleaning the house, which enabled them to be as busy on Saturday and Sunday, days when they could spend on leisure activities such as playing sports, cooking. or doing voluntary activities.

    “Before the trial, many wondered if we would see an increase in productivity to make up for reduced working time, and this is exactly what happened,” said the sociologist Brendan Burchell, who was in charge of the research for the University of Cambridge. “Employees were looking for efficiency for themselves such as shortening meetings or looking for technological solutions to save time, improve their productivity.”

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    Among the 2,900 employees affected by this test, the majority reported that their levels of anxiety and fatigue were significantly reduced, improving their physical and mental health. 60% said it was easier for them to combine paid work with caring responsibilities at home, and 62% said their social life was now more balanced.

    “These data show that the working week is four days,” said Joe Ryle, campaign manager for the 4 Day Week Campaign in favor of shortening the working week in the UK.

    How was this reduction made?

    There were several options. Some companies declared a holiday on Friday, but others reduced their hours evenly throughout the week or even the year (like a restaurant that opened more hours in the summer than in the winter).

    In general, all the companies optimized their processes to avoid unnecessary waste of time: they set up meetings with very clear agendas, reduced the level of e-mail, and reviewed production processes.

    In short, the study was so successful that 92 of the companies that took part in the test stated that they considered keeping the four-day week and a total of 18 have already announced that the change will be final.

    Juanjo Villalba is a freelance journalist from Barcelona who specializes in lifestyles, cinema, series, literature, relationships and sexuality.

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