Good news, unless you’re paid by the hour: Oxford University productivity experts have concluded that a four-day working week is definitely better than a five-day one, and results in happier, more productive workers.
This comes as the conclusion to a six-month experiment in which 5,000 workers in BT call centres reported their happiness on a weekly basis. Four-day weeks brought with them an increased amount of calls made, happier customers on the other end, more sales made, fewer absences and more positivity in general. More work, and better work, in less time.
“I would argue the four-day working week is spot on in terms of finding or striking that right balance between improving the work-life balance and unlocking the happiness potential from that in terms of productivity gains,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, associate professor of economics and strategy at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. “This outweighs the net reduction in productivity from working a day less.”
According to their findings, the standard 5:2 model that most of us operate in doesn’t let us fully recharge over the weekend, while an extended break would lead to us turning up after it completely refreshed and ready to face the week. It certainly feels like it makes sense - two-day weekends so easily become a big Saturday and a Sunday-long aftermath, while that third day would create time for actual relaxation and/or activities more constructive than the up-down of partying.
It seems sadly unlikely that workplaces will start adopting the four-day week as standard, but you can always try an experiment where you just don’t turn up on Mondays. If anyone questions you too hard, just make a sad face, pat your stomach. When your productivity soars, it’ll seem all the more impressive due to your grotesque condition.