Breakthrough for four-day week thanks to Covid?
Iceland has already introduced the four-day week and former Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev already predicted in 2019 that it would become standard. Covid is now giving the concept another boost: according to surveys many people not only want to continue working from home at least in part but would also prefer a 30-hour week to higher earnings. Observers are divided as to how quickly change will come.
An unstoppable revolution
The pandemic has stepped up people's yearning for a new work world, writes Der Standard:
“A huge silent revolution is underway in the labour market. ... Reinforced by the pandemic, short-time work and working from home, a new self-awareness has emerged. Many people have put real thought into how they want to work. ... It's about setting up a human working world suited to modern lifestyles. And about values that people truly identify with. Profit and efficiency are not values. The ability to relate to workers and the warm-heartedness of managers are. This could also mean that four-day weeks become the norm. Companies that don't understand what is happening now are very likely to miss the boat.”
Still too many mental hurdles
Don't hold your breath, writer Anna Dziewit-Meller counters in Polityka:
“There are some interesting things going on in the world that my mind - brainwashed in the 2000s as far as work ethic goes - finds as difficult to process as string theory or thermodynamics. The 4-day week, for example, which is being introduced on a trial basis in various places. ... An acquaintance of mine conducted this experiment for a long time in her family business in Warsaw and came to the conclusion that such a way of working generally functions well, but not for everyone. ... Two of her employees gave the concept a negative rating. I think some of us have to learn to work less but more efficiently, including myself. ... We still pay tribute to the cult of sacred overtime as a measure of our commitment to our job.”