GERMANY - Four-Day Workweek Experiment

Arno Froese

It sounds counterintuitive: While Germany, like many countries, struggles to find enough workers, dozens of companies are starting an experiment that will see employees work a day less. In February, 45 companies and organizations in Europe’s largest economy will introduce a 4-day workweek for half a year. Employees will continue to receive their full salary. The initiative is led by the consulting firm Intraprenör in collaboration with the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global (4DWG).

Advocates argue that a 4-day workweek would increase worker productivity and, by consequence, help alleviate the country’s skilled labor shortage. Germany has a long-held reputation for industriousness and efficiency. Yet, in recent years, productivity in Germany has fallen.

The theory has already been put to the test outside of Germany. Since 2019, 4DWG has been running pilot programs across the globe—from the UK and South Africa to Australia, Ireland, and the US. Over 500 companies have participated in a trial run, and early results seem to favor a shorter workweek. 

Looking at an experiment involving nearly 3,000 workers in the UK, researchers from Cambridge and Boston found that almost 40% of participants reported feeling less stressed after the experiment and that the number of resignations decreased by 57%.

Sick days also decreased by two-thirds. Recent data from the German health insurance company DAK shows that workers in Germany took 20 sick days on average last year. 

Crucially, in the UK experiment, researchers also observed an average revenue increase of around 1.4% in 56 out of 61 participating companies. The majority expressed a desire to maintain the 4-day workweek beyond the test phase.

-www.dw.com, 31 January 2024

Arno's Commentary

Indeed, it sounds counterproductive. Less time on the job will increase productivity? Apparently, based on these findings, it is indeed more productive. Here the slogan, “You can’t argue with success” applies. 

We observe that this tendency is in opposition to God’s instruction: “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Exodus 20:9). Jesus identifies a day as 12 hours: “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9a). 

In summary, mankind works less, has more idle time, and enjoys luxury as never before in human history. While this development in itself is not sinful, idleness will, according to the Bible, lead to sin; that is, independence from God the Creator. It is the prophet Ezekiel who reveals a back-view prophecy of the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness” (Ezekiel 16:49a).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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