USA - Four-Day Workweek?

Arno Froese

The idea of a four-day workweek might sound crazy, especially in America, where the number of hours worked has been climbing and where cellphones and email remind us of our jobs 24/7.

A Washington state senator introduced a bill to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a parliamentary proposal to shift to a four-day week. Politicians in Britain and Finland are considering something similar.

Hundreds—if not thousands—of companies are adopting or testing the four-day week. Last summer, Microsoft’s trial in Japan led to a 40% improvement in productivity, measured as sales per employee.

Andrew Barnes is CEO of Perpetual Guardian, New Zealand’s largest estate planning company. He spent much of his career believing long hours were better for business. But he was also disturbed by the toll it took on employees and their families, particularly when it came to mental health.

So two years ago, he used Perpetual Guardian and its 240 workers as guinea pigs, partnering with academic researchers in Auckland to monitor and track the effects of working only four days a week.

Remarkably, workers got more work done while working fewer hours. Sales and profits grew. Employees spent less time commuting, and they were happier.

Barnes says there were other, unexpected benefits: It narrowed workplace gender gaps. Women—who typically took more time off for caregiving—suddenly had greater flexibility built into their schedule. Men also had more time to help with their families, Barnes says.

-www.npr.org, 21 February 2020

Arno's commentary

Progressive, modern technology requires continual change. The Biblical law, given to Israel, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work” (Exodus 20:9), is slowly but surely being eliminated. In the USA, it was in 1922 when Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s son, said, “Every man needs more than one day a week for rest and recreation.” Now, the four-day workweek seems very attractive, as Mr. Barnes, the CEO of Perpetual Guardian of New Zealand, states.

Here we are reminded of sister Sodom, “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).

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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