UK - 32-Hour Workweek Test Underway

Arno Froese

For the next six months, thousands of people across the U.K. will be working 32 hours a week in the largest four-day workweek pilot the world has ever seen. 

The idea is pretty simple. Workers make the same amount of money they would for a 40-hour workweek, but they only work 80% of the time. In exchange for fewer hours, workers commit to maintaining the productivity they would in a five-day workweek.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge,” Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said in a statement.

While it will be at least six months before final results from the U.K. pilot are revealed, a similar experiment by Microsoft Japan in 2019 resulted in a 40% increase in productivity. Earlier, a New Zealand company testing four-day weeks announced a 20% boost in employee productivity in 2018.

Trials in Iceland of some 2,500 workers between 2015 and 2019 found that productivity remained the same or improved in most cases.

-www.npr.org, 7 June 2022

Arno's Commentary

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—headquartered in France and founded by the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, and others—lists 36 selected countries with the most and least work hours per year:

• For 2019, the longest was Mexico with 2,130 hours (averaging 41.1 hours per week).
• The United States was 34.2 hours per week.
• The UK was 1,539 hours (29.6 hours per week).
• Germany was 26.65 hours per week.

We also note that in the UK in 2014, the average workweek was 32.25 hours; within five years, the workweek was reduced to 29.6 hours. Thus, the four-day workweek has already become a reality in most European countries.

When one follows the published statistics, it becomes crystal clear that the most advanced workforce works less, yet produces more, resulting in higher competitiveness.

This development simply translates into more leisure time, while at the same time having higher quality products, leading to prosperity and abundance. 

To Israel, God gave the Ten Commandments: “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Exodus 20:9). While this is addressed to Israel, we know, in an extended sense, it’s applicable to all nations of the world. 

Whether we are Christians or not, the advantage is clear: less work and more free time. Thus, the question: what’s wrong? Here we need to consult Scripture. The prophet Ezekiel proclaims: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49). That means prosperity galore, abundant luxury, yet they neglected the needs of the “poor and needy.” A picture of our times.

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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