Updated: 3 days ago
Thursday is the new Friday! People have been talking about a 4-day workweek for a long time. But it seems like more people are interested in it now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is when we rethink how we work, including how many people work from home and how we use offices.
Ford Motor Co. (and the Industrial Revolution) started this trend when they switched to a five-day workweek instead of six days. In 1938, a federal law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandated a minimum wage, 44-hour workweek, and overtime pay. The Act was changed in 1938 to provide for a 42-hour workweek and it was changed again in 1940 to shorten the workweek to 40 hours.
Some people think that working four days instead of five might lead to better well-being for workers without a loss in productivity. This is because, at some point, productivity decreases as the number of hours worked increases. People may be working more hours than they need to.
A number of companies have tried the four-day workweek and it seems to be working well for them. Japan's government even recommends it. There are a lot of advantages to working four days instead of five. You can spend more time with your family, for example, or you can do more work in the same amount of time because you're more focused.
What is the environmental impact of a four-day workweek? There have been a number of studies recently that say working less can be good for the environment. Here are some of their findings:
One study found that if people worked 10% less, their carbon footprint would go down by 14.6%. Each person's carbon footprint will be reduced by 2.3 tons!
Another study found that if people in the US (we work long hours) worked similar hours to Europeans (work fewer hours), we would use about 20% less energy. Each person's energy consumption will be reduced by 60 million BTU!
It turns out that if we work for four days instead of working fewer hours each day, this can help reduce pollution! If we can stay focused and productive during those four days, then we are all set!