The idea of a four-day week against the usual 40-hour, five-day work week has been mooted for decades.
- Microsoft trial: The most recent and widespread adoption of a four-day work week was a trial run by Microsoft in Japan in 2019. The study witnessed a 40% increase in worker productivity, presumably due to increased job satisfaction and lower burnouts.
- Apart from workers’ productivity, the company also witnessed higher efficiency in the form of lower office costs. It saw a massive 23% dip in electricity costs and a 60% fall in the number of pages printed in the office.
Fewer working days will lead to lower commuting and hence have a positive impact on the environment, including a fall in electricity consumption in offices
It can be an important tool to revive employment rates after the novel coronavirus pandemic as against the phenomenon of Great Resignation
It will increase work-life balance and a step toward gender equality and women’s career progression. This is because women often opt for smaller shifts and shorter work days for lower pay after they become mothers.
A four-day work week is not one that fits all. The service sector has challenges implementing a four-day work week, especially for small firms,
The sales and marketing departments of firms may also face issues as there would be less time to chase leads, build customer relations and solve issues,
Further, employees in firms that would not decrease work hours in a four-day work week would have to work 10 hours on working days, which can lead to increased stress and decreased satisfaction,
It will also affect employees’ holiday entitlements.
- Government response: Recognising this, the Central government is set to roll out the new labour codes, which include rules for a flexible four-day work week. The new codes stipulate the requirement of a minimum of 48 hours per week; hence the employee will have to work for 12 hours on each working day.
- Expected Output: This is not likely to increase productivity as the increased per day hours of work would work against employee motivation to increase output.
- Suggestions: The draft code should only reduce the number of workdays, keeping the number of hours fixed.
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