Three day weekend, the finest phrase in the English language, only topped by four day weekend at Eater. Last weekend, we enjoyed a bank holiday weekend basking in the sun and it was glorious. An extra day to recover from the shenanigans of the weekend and an extra day before you face back to the daily grind. What if this three day weekend was every weekend, SocDem co-leader Roisin Shortall is urging the Government to start a national conversation about a four-day working week in Ireland. A woman after my own heart.
SocDem co-leader Roisin Shortall wants to start a national conversation about a four-day working week in Ireland as she welcomes plans to increase parental leave by eight weeks over next two years pic.twitter.com/dCH8vB08H7
— Hugh O'Connell (@oconnellhugh) May 14, 2019
There is a strong argument for reducing the work week to a four day week. Several companies have introduced a four day work week and found that it boosts job satisfaction and productivity. One such company is Indy Cube, a provider of workspaces in Wales. If you get in touch with Indy Cube outside of work hours you receive an automatic message:
We’ll get back to you pretty quickly during working hours. If you’re messaging us outside of these, we’re probably busy with other things, like horse-riding, karate, or good ole-fashioned sleep.
This out of office embodies what the four day work week is all about, finding a healthy health/ life balance.
A New Zeland company also recently added a four-day working week and reported that productivity and team engagement levels have risen amongst its employees.
According to the OECD Better Life report, Denmark has the best work-life balance. In Denmark, only about 2 % of employees work very long hours compared to the OECD average of 13 %. The Danes are recognised as some of Europe's most efficient workers but they don't just live to work. Here in Ireland, the first thing people ask you as a conversation starter is "What do you do?". In Denmark, you'll notice the first thing people will ask you is "What are your interests?. This is just one small example on how, unlike many cultures, the Danes don't let their job define them. Danish women also have better opportunities to pursue a career and balance it with family life due to the shorter working week, flexibility and state-subsidised daycare.
Roisin Shortall is spot on, we can learn from our international counterparts and at the very least start the conversation around the benefits or introducing a shorter work week.