Work less live more?
By Jim Scott
Amongst the government's ongoing negotiations to try and keep our exit from the European Union the least bit turbulent. Only last week, it was reported that the UK had experienced its "worst decade for productivity" since the 18th century.
Staff at the Bank of England said the UK's efficiency, a measure of the country's capital to labour ratio, was at its weakest point since 1761 and 1781 and even the 19th century recession.
But as productivity growth levels hits an all-time low, would following countries like the Netherlands, where a four-day working week exists, mean we could work less and live more?
Accountancy Age reports the UK's employees work on average for 34 hours and 26 minutes each week. A normal office shift which begins at 9 and finishes at 5 means this figure is pushed up by workers working into a "fifth" day, something unions have argued against.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said working a four-day week is "realistic". Its leader, Frances O'Grady said technological advances in today’s society would take away some of the strain full-time workers face, The Independent reports.
The union said 74 percent of employees surveyed wanted tech (Augmented Reality) to give them more control over their working lives and ultimately reduce their hours at work.
Currently, an estimated five million people in Britain are working on average, over seven hours a week without pay. Which could signal an issue with employers unable to pay overtime because of too many staff members or even, not enough working hours. At the same time, an estimated 1.4 million people are working seven days a week, the Daily Mirror reports.
But people in Britain could be working a lot less if the Green Party made it to office, the BBC said. Last week the Green Party announced that "Free time should be measure of UK's well-being" whilst it asked government to introduce a "Free Time Index" to replace the current indicator, the Gross Domestic Product.
Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, said: "People are constantly 'on', even when they are commuting.
"There's an enormous amount of unpaid caring going on which doesn't get measured, which doesn't leave people with very much free time either. We have got a mental health crisis and we think we should be measuring this. It should be used as a more important indicator than GDP of how our country is doing."
The Netherlands, one of world's happiest places to live, adopted a four-day week several years ago. The average full-time worker only works 29 hours a week whilst annual wages are reported to be around $47,000 (Approximately £35,000).
Last week, The Guardian reported a New Zealand company which trialled a four-day week with its 250 staff was successful and would be implemented into their business. Perpetual Guardian, who handles the estate of those deceased said stimulation, commitment and a feeling of empowerment by staff improved significantly.
But a four-day week might not work in the UK, reports the Scotsman. Backing up its claims that the initiative wouldn't work for every business. It used the example that customers could expect a company to be available five days a week, whilst a four-week employee, unavailable on a Friday, could be more likely to take their custom elsewhere if that business didn't open that day.
It also reported that organising childcare would be difficult as many daycare and after school clubs worked around a normal 9 to 5 schedule which could be altered if a four-day week was introduced.Read Full Article