Four-Day Work Week Being Tried By Many Companies Due To Staff Burnout And Stress

Those companies around the world that have cut their working days week days claimed to have found that the productivity of the employees had increased along with more motivation and less burnout of  staff.

“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 in an interview with news agency Reuters. This company was amongst the first to introduce a four-day week earlier this year for the 10-member staff of the company.

After a test introduction of a 32-hour week earlier this year, a fall in stress and a jump in staff engagement were noted by insurance company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand.

Companies in Japan are also being encouraged by the government to allow Monday mornings off even though such other schemes and efforts to reduce working hours in a workaholic country have not been successful.

Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) is urging the imposition of a four-day week working schedule throughout the country which has also been lend support by the opposition Labour party.

The argument put forward by the TUC for the reduced working week is that it would allow staff to take advantage of the wealth generated by new technologies such as machine learning and robotics in a manner similar to getting week end offs during the industrial revolution.

“It would reduce the stress of juggling working and family life and could improve gender equality. Companies that have already tried it say it’s better for productivity and staff wellbeing,” said TUC economic head Kate Bell.

The issue of overwork is being looked down i\upon which because evident with the criticism of Tesla boss Elon Musk after he tweeted that “nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week”, said Lucie Greene, trends expert at consultancy J. Walter Thompson.

“People are starting to take a step back from the 24-hour digital life we have now and realize the mental health issues from being constantly connected to work,” Greene said.

According to the outcome of a survey conducted on 3,000 employees in eight countries including the United States, Britain and Germany, almost half of the respondent claimed that if there were no interruptions in their work, they would be able to get their tasks over in five hours a day. However many are working got more than 40 hours a week with the highest work hours being reported from the United States leading where 49 per cent of the respondents confirmed they worked overtime. .

“There has been work creep. Because you always have the technology, you are always working, so people are getting burned out,” said Dan Schawbel, director of executive development firm Future Workplace, which conducted the survey with Kronos.

In April this year, a policy was introduced by ad agency owned by WPP – Grey New York, which asked staff to sacrifice 15 per cent of their salaries against working for only four days every week.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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