The case for the four-day working week was highlighted at a Fórsa event at ICTU's BDC conference in Belfast earlier this week. The union has been leading the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, which announced earlier this month that 17 companies have signed up to its pilot programme.
Launched earlier this year, the pilot aims to trial the effectiveness of reduced working time for Irish businesses.
Speaking at the event, Joe O'Connor of 4-Day Week Global said a four-day week stressed that the programme was not about reducing pay or costs, but rather to “work smarter and to work less.”
He said that, even before the pandemic, almost two-thirds of employees and employers believed that a four-day week was achievable. He said it was even more desirable in the new post-Covid landscape.
Orla Kelly of UCD outlined how the campaign is measuring the impact of working time reduction on productivity, profitability, employee wellbeing, and life satisfaction.
Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan has repeatedly said that a four-day working model would reduce employee burnout while increasing productivity, and this point was emphasised at the conference by businessman and founder of Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes. He said the way we work today is not fit for purpose, and that a transition to a four-day week would be “better for everyone.”
He also emphasised that having an extra day off for an employee gives them the opportunity to upskill themselves to advance their career. Andrew’s company, based in New Zealand, successfully piloted a four-day before implementing it on a permanent basis.
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