"A little more than a century ago, most people in industrialised countries
worked 60 hours a week – six ten-hour days. A 40-hour work week of five
eight-hour days became the norm, along with increased paid holidays, in the
These changes were made possible by massive increases in productivity and
hard-fought struggles by workers with bosses for a fair share of the expanding
In the 1960s and ‘70s it was expected that this pattern would continue. It was
even anticipated that, by the year 2000, there would be a “leisure society”.
Instead, the trend towards reduced working hours ground to a halt.
But now there are suggestions we are on the cusp of another great leap forward
– a 32-hour, four-day week for the same pay as working five days. This is
sometimes referred to as the “100-80-100” model. You will continue to be paid
100% of your wages in return for working 80% of the hours but maintaining 100%
In Spain and Scotland, political parties have won elections with the promise of
trialling a four-day week, although a similar move in the 2019 UK general
election was unsuccessful. In Australia, a Senate committee inquiry has
recommended a national trial of the four-day week.
Hopes of the four-day week becoming reality have been buoyed by glowing reports
about the success of four-day week trials, in which employers have reported
cutting hours but maintaining productivity.
However, impressive as the trial results may appear, it’s still not clear
whether the model would work across the economy."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics