Andrew Yang thinks every weekend should be a long one.
The former Democratic presidential candidate urged the US to “seriously consider” adopting a four-day workweek, arguing it would benefit the economy and public health.
“3-Day weekends are better than 2-Day weekends,” Yang said on Twitter Monday at the end of the long Memorial Day weekend. “Studies show that we would be just as productive. It would create jobs at the margins and improve mental health.”
The coronavirus pandemic could spur a faster shift to a shorter workweek, according to a Washington Post article Yang included in his tweet. One UK study cited in the story found that almost two-thirds of businesses with four-day weeks saw staff productivity increase and more than three quarters of workers associated the change with a better quality of life.
“It used to be that flexible work arrangements were a bit stigmatized,” organizational behavior researcher Karen Jansen told the Washington Post. “Those negatives I think are going away. Covid has had a leveling effect.”
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern recently urged companies to consider shifting to a four-day week, saying it could help revitalize the country’s economy and boost domestic tourism.
New Zealand is also home to Perpetual Guardian, an estate-planning company that shortened its workweek in 2018. Yang shared another tweet noting that researchers studying the firm found productivity increased 20 percent and employee stress levels fell during an eight-week trial of the policy.
The four-day week is “not just having a day off a week — it’s about delivering productivity, and meeting customer service standards, meeting personal and team business goals and objectives,” Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes said on the company’s website.
Yang — an entrepreneur who has also advocated for a universal basic income — made the push as the coronavirus pandemic upends workplaces around the world by forcing many people to do their jobs at home. Big tech companies Facebook and Twitter plan to make the switch permanent in some capacity.
But it’s uncertain how quickly the US will move to a four-day week. Just 17 percent of companies in North America offered a “compressed” workweek even though about two thirds of workers wanted one, according to a 2018 survey by human-resources consulting firm Robert Half.
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