A four-day work week – good idea or bad idea? I asked this on Twitter and 25,000 people voted. The results will surprise you…
I was even surprised because my audience is generally entrepreneurs – most of these guys are in business. Most of them are above the average person. I thought the numbers were going to lean more to a horrible idea. I was shocked.
- 22.5% – Don’t care
- 23% – Bad idea
- 54.6% – Good idea
I’m blown away by the results. What do you want to do with the three days off? Is it good for you? Is it even healthy for you to have more time on your hands?
When we have more free time, do we live longer? Are we more fulfilled? Is it worse for us? We’ve got tons of different data that will amaze you. I want to see if any other country did the four-day work week and received good results.
The country with the shortest work week is 29 hours. I’ll give you my argument on some industries and you make a decision for yourself.
First, let’s define success. What is success? Just having more time? Let’s look at the data – countries with technology being innovated.
- #1: Australia – More than 20 companies will take part of a four-day work week trial. They’re calling it the Four-Day Week Global, which is a nonprofit organization that’s also overseeing pilots in UK and New Zealand. FYI – two big tech names that came out of Austraila is WIFI and Google Maps, later bought by Google.
- #6: Austria – has the sixth shortest average work week in the world, 35 and a half hours a week. Although Austria hasn’t instituted a four-day work week, many Austrian workers are interested in the idea. One out of every two workers said they would welcome a four-day work week. Most innovative company, they had started in the last 30+ years is called Pest candy. You ever seen pest candy? You probably had it before. You know what their top line revenue was last year? 29 million bucks. That’s innovation…if that’s success to you, then maybe the four-day work week IS a great idea.
- Belgium – Workers in Belgium now have the right to switch to a four-day work week, but they’re working four 10-hour days, which is a total of 40 hours a week. In early 2022, the Belgian government introduced a new labor market reform that allows workers to choose to work a four-day workweek. Workers are still expected to maintain the same number of hours, but now have the option to work for 10-hour days. Workers are allowed to ask their employers for a six-month trial period of the four-day work week after which they can choose to go back to the traditional five-day work week.
- Canada – population: 31 million people. In early 2022, Canada began the four-day workweek trial just to kind of see how it’s going to work out. The goal of the program is to demonstrate that employees can maintain 100% of productivity while working 20 fewer hours and receiving the same amount of pay. Any innovation in Canada? I don’t know.
- #2: Denmark, Population 5.8 million. 33 hours of a work week. This allowed full-time workers in Denmark to spend 66% of their day on rest. They switched to a five-week work model in the thirties. Previously, it was six days. Innovation from Denmark? Legos. I love Legos.
- Germany – population: 83.2 million people. In addition to having won the shortest work week in the world at 34 hours, Germany’s largest trade union is lobbying for Germany to adopt a 40-work week. Since 2020, Germany has faced economic difficulties from both the pandemic and the struggles to transition to electric vehicles. What kind of innovation has Germany produced? Obviously, cars, airbags, a sea leg, the chip on your credit card, the MP3 format, that’s what Germany has done.
- Iceland: the population is 372,000 people. Their largest pilot of a four-day workweek took place in Iceland with two and a half people taking part of the study. Iceland is the country most supportive of a four-day work week. Previous trials were considered a huge success and has resulted in a huge shift in Iceland’s standard working hours with 90% of the population currently enjoying reduced hours or other work modifications.
- Japan – population: 126 billion people. The government released their annual economic policy in 2021, which recommended that companies let staff work four days a week instead of five. Although in the past, Japan has been known for an intense working culture. Recently the country has released the new guidelines encouraging this. The 40-hour workweek has been proposed in the past and implemented by some companies such as Microsoft, Japan. Japan’s innovations? Emojis, Walkman, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, VHS, jet skis, laptops and 3D printing.
- Netherlands – 29 hours. The freaking dream. Citizens now have the right to go part-time in their job unless there’s a substantial business reason justifying why they cannot. According to government statistics, 86% of employed moms work less than 35 hours per week. 12% of working fathers work less hours compared to other countries. What have they innovated? Bluetooth. Excellent idea.
Again, how do you define success? I as a company owner, operator, CEO, need to increase to 20% of my employees pay the same salary – family, mortgage, taxes and insurance. My cost just went up 20% and you want me to still sell the products at a discounted rate? Probably not. Do you know what it’s like to be part of a startup? Imagine I start a company. Hey guys, we got this idea. We’re going go take over this entire publishing business and we’re going to make books.
You really buy that idea. You think it’s going work with startups? Journalists are convincing people that this is possible and it’s not. They just need an article to write, and politicians say, let’s do this because people are going like it. I’m going to get reelected. Let’s keep selling this concept here.
This is not cool. Why are you making it so hard on the kids? It’s tough to make a big impact when you don’t have the right amount of time to do so.
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