The pandemic has changed the world of work forever.
As a result, organizations have been forced to accept flexibility about where employees work.
But some have gone even further and also enabled flexibility about when employees work.
Now, progressive Democratic legislators in the US are proposing that the country reduces its weekly working hours from 40 to 32 and implement a four-day week.
The initiative was introduced by California Democrat Representative Mark Takano at a recent Congressional progressive caucus.
“For far too long, workers across this country have been forced to put in longer hours as their wages barely budge,” chair of the caucus and Washington state Democrat Representative Pramila Jayapal, said in a statement seen by Business Insider.
“It is past time that we put people and communities over corporations and their profits — finally prioritizing the health, wellbeing, and basic human dignity of the working class rather than their employers’ bottom line,” Jayapal said.
Takano added in a statement: “After a nearly two-year-long pandemic that forced millions of people to explore remote work options, it’s safe to say that we can’t – and shouldn’t – simply go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working.”
“The 32-hour work week would go a long way toward finally righting that balance.”
Could this be a positive outcome of the ‘Great Resignation’ where employees are taking control and desiring more from work than just wages?
The pros of a four-day week
Over the past few years, the case for a shorter, four-day week has been growing.
The latest positive news comes for a recent study in Iceland, which found that working fewer hours a week was actually good for productivity and wellbeing.
For four years between 2015 and 2019, Iceland trialed a reduction of working hours from 40 hours to 35-36 hours without a reduction in pay.
As a result of the trial of 2,500 workers, now 86% of Iceland’s workforce are working fewer hours or gaining the right to do so.
Is it only a matter of time until the US, as well as other countries, follow suit?