We're talking about the 4-day workweek — again. Is it a mirage or reality?
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It just keeps coming up, doesn't it? The concept of a perma-long weekend with no reduction in pay. It's so attractive in theory that we as a society refuse to let it go.
But it's starting to feel like that mirage of an oasis in the desert. We're desperate for some relief, but it always seems just out of reach...
What is it? The four-day workweek. There have been any number of studies in recent years looking into this, but will we see it en masse?
What's the big deal? Well, the idea appears to be gaining momentum — at least in some circles.
Want more journalism to get you thinking about work and money? Listen to the Consider This episode on developing a personal recession toolkit
What are people saying?
David Frayne, a research associate at University of Cambridge who worked on the recent U.K. trial, said the signs were positive:
"We feel really encouraged by the results, which showed the many ways companies were turning the four-day week from a dream into a realistic policy, with multiple benefits ... We think there is a lot here that ought to motivate other companies and industries to give it a try."
Simon Ursell, the managing director of an environment consultancy that took part in the trial, told NPR the company was making the four-day workweek permanent. But he says reimagining the traditional work structure shouldn't stop with this one idea:
"What I think the trial has proved is that working in a way that is most applicable to your organization to achieve the sweet spot of the best productivity for the time, that's what you've gotta be aiming at. It's not necessarily just four days. I think the real question for me is what is the best thing for your organization? What are you going to get the best outcomes for?"
Lindsay Tjepkema, the CEO of a marketing technology company called Casted, last year told NPR she wasn't convinced an extra day off is the relief people crave.
"Real flexibility is being able to say, 'Hey I want to start my workday late' or 'I want to cut out early on Wednesdays for kid reasons, for friend reasons, for personal reasons, for pet reasons. So if I mandate that flexibility at our company means you get Fridays off, that's not flexibility. That's mandating a day off."
So, what now? The idea just won't go away.
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