Variety

Burnout, stress lead more companies to try a four-day work week

Reuters Berlin | Updated on December 17, 2018 Published on December 17, 2018

Work four days a week, but get paid for five?

It sounds too good to be true, but companies around the world that have cut their work week have found that it leads to higher productivity, more motivated staff and less burnout.

“It is much healthier and we do a better job if we’re not working crazy hours,” said Jan Schulz-Hofen, founder of Berlin-based project management software company Planio, who introduced a four-day week to the company's 10-member staff earlier this year.

In New Zealand, insurance company Perpetual Guardian reported a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement after it tested a 32-hour week earlier this year.

Even in Japan, the government is encouraging companies to allow Monday mornings off, although other schemes in the workaholic country to persuade employees to take it easy have had little effect.

Britain’s Trades Union Congress is pushing for the whole country to move to a four-day week by the end of the century. It argues that a shorter week is a way for workers to share in the wealth generated by new technologies like machine learning and robotics, just as they won the right to the weekend off during the industrial revolution.

Lucie Greene, trends expert at consultancy J Walter Thompson, said there is a growing backlash against overwork, underlined by a wave of criticism after Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted that “nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”

Published on December 17, 2018
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