The idea of a four day work week might feel bizarre to Americans considering the United States has only ever participated in a five day work week, but the results of a U.K. trial might be strong enough to change minds. Dozens of companies took part in “the world’s largest trial of a four-day workweek” according to The Washington Post, resulting in supervisors and employees favoring the new set up and electing to keep it. Americans could also benefit from implementing four day work weeks and it isn’t hard to see why U.K. employees are in favor of it as well.
According to the results, employees saw benefits in their “sleep, stress levels, personal lives and mental health.” In a capitalist society that is focused primarily on making money and maximizing employee time, this approach to the work field offers a breath of fresh air. People are often overworked, suffering from stress and unable to lead fulfilling personal lives since they are too engrossed in their job. There is nothing wrong with wanting professional success, but it puts a strain on the other aspects of people’s lives. People are typically trying to earn higher pay because there is a lot of pressure to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Financial security easily becomes a priority for those facing financial struggles. With this four day work week, people will have greater autonomy over their lives.
Four day work weeks are controversial, however, because of how it was thought to affect companies and employers. Companies face the risk of losing out on revenue, not to mention significantly altering the busy work environment. Unfortunately, the current work environment structure has often been used to intimidate employees. To companies that profit from five day work weeks, there is a gamble to be taken for the wellbeing of their staff. In direct contrast to the worries of these companies, the previously mentioned study saw a 35% increase in revenue when compared to previous years around a similar time period.
Employees are the backbone of companies and the economy. By giving them the same pay and less working hours, their quality of life can improve significantly. If adopted, there are positive side effects to be seen for the companies as well as for the employees individually. It is past time the U.S. moves away from the mindset that incentivizes burnout. A healthy work life balance should not be an option, but a necessity.