You could have the chance to go on more yurt holidays if these two health and business professionals who have joined in on the growing calls for a reduced working week in order to improve employee wellbeing and business efficiency get their way.
This may be a stupid question but does your working week feel too long? Let’s presume you said yes (we’re sure you did), well you’re not alone. In April this year a YouGov survey revealed that 57% of UK workers would be in support of a four-day week, with an overwhelming 71% believing that it would make country a happier place to live.
The two leading experts who work in the sectors of health and business have been united in calls for reducing the number of days in the average working week. In July, top UK doctor John Ashton and Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim both put forward proposals for working weeks that they argue would create a healthier, more productive and more equal society.
Dr Ashton, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, believes that a standard working week should be reduced from five days to four in order to improve public health. He argues that it would reduce the prevalence of conditions such as high blood pressure and stress-related illnesses that may result from overwork. He also argued that it would allow people to spend more time with their families and cut unemployment.
However not everyone is convinced by this idea. David Kern, chief economist for the British Chamber of Commerce, claimed that productivity gains wouldn’t make up for the lost working hours.
Along with the reasons Ashton alluded to, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) believe that a shorter working week would see a reduction in carbon emissions, develop gender equality and generate a stronger democracy by allowing people more time to engage in politics and their local communities.
These announcements were given at around the same time that flexible working rights were extended to all employees in the UK. NEF believe that the same could happen with a shorter working week, however admit that it would take time.