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Should We All Be Working Four Days a Week?

A recent study in Sharjah seems to suggest so

On January 1, the entire UAE adopted Saturday and Sunday as the new weekend to align with much of the rest of the world. Sharjah took it a step further, introducing a four-day workweek, giving employers a three-day-long weekend. According to a new study, the four days on and three days off system seems to be paying off for the tiny emirate as workers are more productive, customers are happier, and the number of road-related accidents and deaths in Sharjah has been reduced by almost 50%.

The study, presented on Tuesday at a Sharjah Executive Council meeting, was based on experiences from workers in the policing, environment, human resources, and financial sectors in the emirate. It also found that in addition to decreased traffic accidents and casualties, the shift to fewer working days is also good for the environment. Less people are commuting to work, meaning that the emission of gases such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide has decreased. 

Additionally, quality of work and productivity have also increased as people no doubt have a healthier work-life balance

Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a four-day workweek was nothing more than a mere fantasy to most people. Since then however, a number of countries across the globe have decided to embrace shorter workweeks, including Belgium (for those that want it), while in Wales, a government trial due to start in 2023 will see workers have their hours reduced by 20 percent.

Meanwhile, in 2019, Microsoft in Japan tested out a four-day workweek, which resulted in happier employees. Productivity increased by 40 percent, meetings were more efficient, and employees took less time off.

The perspective of reducing working hours is definitely appealing with many positive outcomes. Sharjah’s challenging of the traditional five-day workweek will certainly attract and retain more employees overtime, and it makes us question whether the rest of the UAE will follow suit. 

A three-day-long weekend is probably one of the ultimate new job perks an employee could possibly hope for, especially considering that most workers in the UAE get a measly two-weeks for vacation per year. Scaling back to four-day workweeks could be just the solution we need for a brighter future.

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