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Poll: Would You Want to Work a Shorter Week?

Weigh in with your thoughts on a four-day workweek

2 min read
Person holding a giant sized pencil standing next to a giant sized calendar with days crossed out to show a four-day workweek.

When I worked for a company in Texas a few years ago, one of the benefits I enjoyed was a four-and-a-half-day workweek. The system enabled my colleagues and me to run some personal errands, see our doctors, and pick up our kids from school, among other activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic required many companies to adopt a flexible work schedule to keep their operations open. Many allowed their employees to work from home full time. Nowadays plenty of those employers are trying to persuade their workers to return to the office full time, but they are facing some resistance.

One solution some companies are trying is a four-day, 32-hour workweek for the same pay.

​Does your company offer a four-day workweek?

Would you like to work a four-day workweek?

Many organizations around the world are running pilot programs. In June the United Kingdom launched a four-day workweek pilot project, with more than 3,300 workers and 70 companies participating, according to Fortune. Forty-six percent of the companies reported their business productivity had stayed at about the same level, 34 percent said productivity had improved slightly, and 15 percent said there was a significant improvement.

Iceland ran a pilot between 2015 and 2019, and this year it said the program was an overwhelming success, the BBC reported. Other countries that are trying out a shortened workweek include Australia, Japan, Scotland, and Spain, according to World Population Review.

In a survey of companies that are offering the option—conducted by the 4 Day Week Global organization, which promotes a reduced work schedule—63 percent said the shorter workweek makes it easier to attract and retain talent, and 78 percent of employees reported being happier and less stressed.

I wondered whether any major engineering companies were offering the option, so I contacted ABB, Siemens, and others. But either they did not respond or they had not yet decided.

So instead I thought I’d ask readers whether their company is offering a shortened workweek. I’d also like to know your thoughts about an abbreviated work schedule.

Please submit your answers to the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments sections below. The Institute plans to publish an article on the findings.

The Conversation (2)
Ursula Van Rienen10 Jan, 2023

Even the 40 hours a week are not enough to fulfill my tasks as a Fulkl Professor. So, it would even make things worth if the work should be done in 4 instead of 5 days.

1 Reply

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Illustration showing an astronaut performing mechanical repairs to a satellite uses two extra mechanical arms that project from a backpack.

Extra limbs, controlled by wearable electrode patches that read and interpret neural signals from the user, could have innumerable uses, such as assisting on spacewalk missions to repair satellites.

Chris Philpot

What could you do with an extra limb? Consider a surgeon performing a delicate operation, one that needs her expertise and steady hands—all three of them. As her two biological hands manipulate surgical instruments, a third robotic limb that’s attached to her torso plays a supporting role. Or picture a construction worker who is thankful for his extra robotic hand as it braces the heavy beam he’s fastening into place with his other two hands. Imagine wearing an exoskeleton that would let you handle multiple objects simultaneously, like Spiderman’s Dr. Octopus. Or contemplate the out-there music a composer could write for a pianist who has 12 fingers to spread across the keyboard.

Such scenarios may seem like science fiction, but recent progress in robotics and neuroscience makes extra robotic limbs conceivable with today’s technology. Our research groups at Imperial College London and the University of Freiburg, in Germany, together with partners in the European project NIMA, are now working to figure out whether such augmentation can be realized in practice to extend human abilities. The main questions we’re tackling involve both neuroscience and neurotechnology: Is the human brain capable of controlling additional body parts as effectively as it controls biological parts? And if so, what neural signals can be used for this control?

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