It is becoming clear that workers all over the world could benefit from more flexible hours that let them improve their work-life balance.

Add in the fact that businesses could also find this advantageous, and it is worth exploring how this sort of change could happen.

The Case for a Four-Day Working Week

One of the strongest cases for switching to a new way of working is presented by the four-day week. Microsoft Japan reported a 40% rise in productivity and a 23% reduction in electricity costs when they give it a trial in 2019.

Computer Working on desk
There are pros and cons to this compressed working schedule. Picture: Pixabay.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has spoken out in the past about the possibility of a four-day working week based on flexible days of six hours each. However, since taking on the role of leading her country, Marin has pointed out that there are no plans to introduce this method yet.

Some other countries and companies have already tried this in the past, with mixed results. The general idea is that employees get more free time but also that they are more productive when working, as studies have shown that productivity drops as hours increase.

There are pros and cons to this sort of compressed working schedule, but it appears likely that we hear a lot more about it in the months and years ahead. The four days that we work could include the weekend, or any other part of the week, which would give a huge amount of flexibility.

Global Differences in Working Patterns

People all around the planet work in different patterns and for varying amounts of time. For example, in France the legal working week is 35 hours long while in Colombia and Turkey the working week is over 47 hours.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development put Mexico and Costa Rica as the countries where people worked most hours each year, as they were the only countries with an average of over 2,000 hours in 2019.  

Also, not every country looks on the weekend in the same way. A good example comes from countries with a predominantly Islamic culture, where Thursday and Friday are typically the days that make up the weekend. In countries such as India, where Saturday working is traditionally common, the weekend is only Sunday for many people.

As we become more used to global workforces, this increases the need for work patterns that suit everyone and are fair.

Industries That Value the Change to Take Action at Weekends

Another way that flexibility could be added to our careers is by allowing us to work weekends, thereby freeing up more leisure time during the week. This could be especially beneficial in certain industries, where the weekend offers new possibilities.

A type of worker who could appreciate this change is anyone who commutes every day and therefore would benefit from quieter transport and streets. Workers who suffer from slow, crowded computer networks and noisy workplaces may also feel the benefit of working at the weekend.

Office working
It seems certain that we see changes in our working patterns before too long Picture: Pixabay

Part of the knock-on effect of this could be that more trading occurs, as additional opportunities appear in the markets for carrying out Saturday and Sunday trading online. IG confirms that it is already possible to trade on markets such as forex, cryptocurrencies and key global indices at the weekend, suggesting they have already noted advantages to being able to make such trades.

Changes Are Likely

It seems certain that we see changes in our working patterns before too long. The recent increase in the number of home-workers has helped to show us all that it is possible to change how we work in order to get a better life and be more productive at the same time.

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