Introducing an extra day off to the regular working week could drastically cut the strain we are putting on the environment at present.
Additionally, we could also set down a marker to future-proof our economy, new research states.
We all know the feeling of a three-day weekend, but what if this were something that was integrated into normality instead of Monday to Friday, 9-5? This isn’t just a notion to get the office and retail workers on to their bosses to open up the possibilities of more time off (for treehouse holidays and other glamping adventures, of course!), it’s could also be one of the simplest moves we could take to make a drastic reduction in the impact we have on our environment.
By introducing a reduction in working hours, it’s generally seen that there is a healthy correlation with notable reductions in energy consumption, experienced economists David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot cite.
Backing up the evidence
If a four-day week were introduced, significant levels of commuting to and from work would be averted, along with the associated energy outputs that come with day-to-day running of workplaces. We’re all well aware of the need to slash our carbon footprint, and a four-day working week is an initiative that presents itself as one of the simplest and least ‘jarring’ way to make our lives friendlier, environmentally speaking.
Utah, in the United States, brought a similar idea in some nine years ago in 2007. The state redefined the working week for state employees, by extending Monday to Thursday working hours, equating to the elimination of a Friday working day altogether. In the initial ten months alone, Utah saved a minimum of £1.36m in energy costs! Why? Because there was less office lighting, reduced air conditioning use, as well as a cut in the amount of time spent running computers/other electrical equipment. And this was all achieved without ever having to lower the total number of hours worked in a week.
The state of Utah estimated that a saving of in excess of 12,000 tonnes of CO2 would be cut annually, just simply from having people not commuting for that extra one day a week!
We wouldn’t just be helping to do our bit for the environment, even though this would be a significant factor, it would also improve and help to restore our mental health and physical well-being, and we know how important that is!
The opening up of time for caring for children and the elderly, social activities, exercise and relaxation are all factors that would be welcomed. There have been studies conducted on reduced working hours and the results confirmed that by reducing the working hours, sickness days tumbled and productivity saw a healthy growth.
Obviously, if this were to happen, it could never happen overnight, that much is true. However, should we ever get to the point when we’re enjoying a Monday or a Friday then it won’t just benefit us, it will be helping to fight climate change in a monumental way.