The COVID-19 pandemic has already undoubtedly forced many previously unthinkable changes to the way we work. From remote working to the ongoing discussions around work/life balance, employee experience, and the great resignation, we are seeing a shift in priorities and attitudes to work happen in real-time.
A survey by Deloitte found that 22% of millennials wanted to leave their jobs because of a poor work/life balance, while research suggests that Gen Z are even more concerned with well-being and flexibility.
Increasingly, the 4-day week is becoming a lightning rod for discussions around stress, mental health, and productivity. Maybe it would make people happier, even increase their life expectancy, but how is it going to affect businesses? Can we really still get all our work done if we are given less time to do it?
I want to talk about how the 4-day week could impact productivity, but to do so, its necessary to understand something about the history of work: the centuries of struggle that shaped the working week as we know it, the ways in which our working patterns have become ingrained, and whether any of that still makes sense in the context of the modern office.