Why four-day working week is an idea whose time has come – Kenny MacAskill

A four-day working week would help solve one of the UK economy’s biggest problems, writes Kenny MacAskill.

Productivity has long been the economy’s Achilles heel. It’s time to work smarter, not harder, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Some might view a four-day week as fanciful but it’s far from that. Instead it offers a solution to both the economic fallout from coronavirus and the desire many will have for a different work-life balance.

It’s being considered by countries from Finland to New Zealand and more will surely follow. It’s time we did the same.

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Productivity has historically been the Achilles heel of the UK economy.

Longer hours have been worked here than in many countries but to no avail. Working smarter – not harder or longer – seems to be the maxim.

As many plying their trade from home have found, it’s not hours behind the desk or production line that matter, but the outcome. More can be done in less, if it’s focused.

READ MORE: Four-day week: Read this and you’ll be convinced it makes sense – Angela Crawley

Part of that focus comes from job satisfaction. It was with good reason that employers in Canada gave their employees “Golden Fridays”, recognising that a long weekend actually worked out well for both them and their staff.

Many who have been working from home will neither relish the commute nor the daily grind in between.

Continuing the ability to do the former for some and reducing the latter for all can improve output.

Overtime may be reduced but work will be available for more. Pay rates cannot be reduced but needn’t be with added productivity for employers. And unemployment that would otherwise be rocketing can be reduced and so it’s a win-win for all in industrial relations.

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