Are you willing to choose a four-day work schedule?

For some people it is like heaven, for others it is utopia. Very beautiful dream, but unrealistic.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been thinking about how to revitalize the country's tourism industry after the closure of the city. She shared her thoughts via Facebook video not long ago. She said that New Zealand’s tourism industry is 60% domestic. With international borders still closed, there will be many benefits if New Zealanders can travel more domestically.

How to achieve it? She said some people told her that if she had more work flexibility, she would be more likely to take a vacation.

"Many people suggested that we adopt a four-day work system," she said. "It basically depends on the relationship between employers and employees. We have learned a lot about COVID, about the flexibility of people working from home, and the productivity gained from it. These all prompt people to think, if you are the boss with the right to decide, four days Whether the work system is suitable for the company. It really helps the tourism industry of the whole country.” Her comment made the headlines.

She has won a lot of praise on social media. This has also inspired other discussions on topics such as modern work-life balance and the health and productivity benefits of reducing working hours.

But some economists in Australia disagree. Australian National University professor Rabee Tourky said in a tweet, “We should work six days a week to make up for lost time.” Rohan Pitchford of the same university tweeted, “We should be wary of well-intentioned but misguided utopia.”

These criticisms raise interesting questions. From an economic perspective, what exactly is "making up for lost time"? Why did Ardern consider the possibility of some workers to switch to four-day work as a utopia? She did not say to everyone in this country.

The weekend used to be a "Utopia" concept

It is strange to see interesting political ideas being mercilessly criticized.

Throughout the history of capitalism, the term "utopia" has often been pointed to people who suggest that things can be done in another way. Once two days off a week was considered a "utopia", now there is the concept of "weekend", which everyone accepts. According to the ruling of the Federal Arbitration Court, Australia introduced a 1948-day 5-hour working system in 40 (2 days off). At that time, the president of the Victorian Manufacturers Association (Mr. Cecil Newton Mckay) criticized this policy as a "dangerous attempt."

According to a report by The Times on January 1948, 1, Mr. Mckay said that “a country that is extremely lack of productivity and labor, eliminating the burden by reducing jobs and increasing costs is like Alice in Wonderland.” He said, “make more entertainment time The decision, the availability and cost of domestic and foreign goods and services are always the primary factors.” “Australia did an unnecessary and dangerous experiment during the period of inflation, and hope that the results will not be counterproductive.”

What does this inflammatory warning look like now? Coincidentally, in the early 20s, the same Mr. Mckay was concerned about the revival of socialism and established the Institute of Public Affairs with the famous Melbourne businessman.

There are many ways to realize the four-day work system

What does the four-day work system mean? Only need to work for four days but can get 5 days' salary? Or should you compress the work content of 5 days into 4 days, you need to work overtime 4 days a week, get the same salary but have 3 rest days? There are many possible implementations. As Ms. Arden said, this requires employers and employees to sit down and discuss and determine.

Four-day work is not the first time I have heard of it in Australia. In 4, the digital marketing company Versa tried a plan where employees can take a vacation on Wednesday, as long as they can complete their work within 2018 days. Kath Blackburn, CEO of Versa, said the idea is to give employees a day of their own time and to improve their mental state. After a year of experimentation, the results proved everything. "Our profit this year is three times that of last year. Last year, our revenue increased by 4% or 3%, and the happiness of our employees was improved and efficiency was higher," Ms. Blackburn told ABC last year. "The factors that you thought would decrease have actually increased."

At the same time, Ms. Blackham also said that this idea has been criticized. Some people think that reducing working hours is equivalent to laziness. She said that it is natural for the company to refuse to accept such radical ideas. This year she told the ABC, “It boils down to one word,'fear'.”

"I think it's the fear of trusting my employees, thinking that they can do the right thing."

Note: This article is compiled to ABC for reference reading. Unauthorized reprinting is not allowed, if you have any needs, please contact Australia Chinatown ( Learn about authorization details.


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