COVID-19: Some companies explore if four-day workweek could increase productivity

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Some companies in the United States have started exploring the possibility of switching to a four-day work week, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in the way many Americans work.

One of the companies that are considering piloting a four-day workweek is Kickstarter.

The company announced that next year it plans to pilot the shorter workweek while maintaining the same pay for employees, according to the Wall Street Journal. The chief executive of the company said he hopes staff will remain equally productive while having more time to focus on their lives outside of work.

A study in Iceland found that cutting weekly hours without cutting wages resulted in better employee well-being and their productivity either stayed the same or improved, according to Wired. The outlet said that today 86% of the Icelandic workforce either work shorter weeks or may request to do so.

However, Wired reported that the country did not test a four-day work week, the tests simply reduced the hours from 40 to 35 or 36.

In July, legislation to reduce the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours was also introduced to Congress by a California lawmaker.

“After the COVID-19 pandemic has left so many millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed, a shorter work week will allow more people to participate in the workforce at better wages,” said the representing Mark Takano, who introduced the legislation.

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