Traditional 9 to 5 work schedules have come under scrutiny in the wake of the pandemic.
Although this arrangement has been deeply ingrained into work culture for nearly a century, employees have gained new insight about flexibility over the last few years and aren’t interested in going back.
This has led companies and even some governments to push for change in terms of the work week. Some businesses have adopted four-day work weeks, while countries have enacted legislation that gives employees more freedom in their work schedule.
For instance, Belgium workers were recently granted the right to complete their work week in four days rather than five, without a loss in pay. By doing so, Belgium Prime Minister Alexander de Croo says that professionals can achieve a healthier work-life balance.
“The goal is to give people and companies more freedom to arrange their work time,” said Prime Minister de Croo. “If you compare our country with others, you’ll often see we’re far less dynamic.”
Last month, the UK also introduced a pilot program that would allow certain companies to participate in a study that aims to understand how shorter work hours impact their bottom line and productivity.
Currently, around 30 companies have signed up for the program, which is being run by researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, Boston College, and nonprofit groups 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and think tank Autonomy.
Through this initiative, workers will have the ability to work 9.5 hours a day, allowing them to condense their work week into four longer days.
“Similar programs are set to start in the US and Ireland, with more planned for Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” said Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week UK Campaign.