We recently shared how Unilever is shifting their New Zealand office to a four-day workweek. Other companies, like Microsoft, have also begun to explore the concept of a shortened workweek. The idea seems to be gaining traction as the country of Spain is considering an ambitious plan to introduce the concept country-wide.
The 32-hour workweek idea is being promoted in Spain by the Más País party which wants the government to institute a pilot program in which they offer grants to companies willing to try out the new shortened workweek.
Íñigo Errejón, a politician from Spain’s Más País party, told the Independent, “It is a policy for the future that allows for an increase in the productivity of workers, improvements to physical and mental health, and reduces our impact on the environment.”
The four-day workweek is gaining popularity, but it’s not entirely new. During the 2008 financial crisis, Germany introduced a program called Kurzarbeit in which the government would cover wages for the fifth day of work each week so that workers could use the time to learn new skills and job training.
Fortunately, trial runs have shown that a shortened workweek doesn’t impact productivity. In fact, it can boost it. Microsoft’s four-day workweek experiment in Japan last year saw productivity grow by 40 percent, despite reduced hours in the office.
In part, the pandemic is to thank for this new outlook on work and productivity. The realization that workers can be as productive from home as from an office has companies rethinking their entire productivity plans. The next big change in the world of work could be not only working from home but only four days of work from home. We will continue to follow Spain’s initiative and share it with you!