By: Destiny Mouawad, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
As the UAE has recently announced, the official working week will now be 4.5 days long, effective January 1st, 2022, shifting from Sunday to Thursday now to Monday to Friday to align with most countries around the world.
However the UAE’s decision to do so not only helps strengthen the means of communication and “…transactions…” with other businesses that follow a Saturday-Sunday weekend but also boosts productivity and provides employees a chance to balance their work with their personal lives and welfare.
In the UAE the shortened work week also provides employees the chance to attend prayer at mosques held at 1:15pm (Gulf time zone) every Friday.
With the foreseen benefits of having shorter shift times and shorter weeks researchers have seen better mental health across employees and their productivity increasing.
Which is why the idea seems to be gaining immense popularity as countries around the world such as New Zealand, Japan, Iceland, Spain and Scotland have tried a 4 day work week as well.
Japan had finalized their decision in June 2021 to help support workers who had to take care of their family members and potentially give them time or the chance “…to learn new skills…”. For Spain, the idea of the shortened week started in March 2021, whereby they “…agreed to a 32-hour workweek over three years, without cutting workers’ compensation…” with nearly 200 companies and 3,000 to 6,000 involved in the project.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggested in May 2020 that a 4 day work week would be implemented to compensate for the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals could then use the time “…to visit local spots…” given international travel came to a halt.
In 2015-2019 Iceland had tried a large amount of 4 day work weeks in companies and researchers were “…unsurprisingly surprised…” when workers seemed to have an increase in productivity, were happier all while being paid their regular salaries.
Similar to Spain, Scotland has the intention of launching a 32 hour work week, reducing their shifts by 20% however salaries won’t be affected.
As we continue to live and work with or around the pandemic, though it has affected millions it has sprung up the need to revise our work life patterns and countries around the world are recognizing this more and more, prioritizing a seemingly neglected phenomenon, our welfare.