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Time for a four day work week

Time for a four day work week

The Guardian’s Owen Jones has made a powerful case for a four day week:

According to the TUC, workers [in the UK] put in 2.1bn unpaid hours last year – that’s an astonishing £33.6bn of free labour.”

It feels as if we are owed some time off then. Indeed, the issue of overwork has some terrible health effects. Continues Jones:

 “Last year, 12.5m work days were lost because of work-related stress, depression or anxiety. The biggest single cause by a long way – in some 44% of cases – was workload.”

There is also the issue of underwork. Switching to a four day week may address this issue, as those who work too much give some of their hours to those who need more hours:

 “While some are working too much, with damaging consequences for their health and family lives, there are 3.3 million or so “underemployed” workers who want more hours. A four-day week would force a redistribution of these hours, to the benefit of everyone.”

There are also economic benefits to working less:

“It could boost productivity: the evidence suggests if you work fewer hours, you are more productive, hour for hour – and less stress means less time off work. Indeed, a recent experiment with a six-hour working day at a Swedish nursing home produced promising results: higher productivity and fewer sick days.”

Given that low productivity is arguably a greater threat to UK growth than Brexit, it is time support measures to boost it. Working less is likely to mean that we all work smart.

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