Capetonians, how would you feel if South Africa transitioned to a four and a half day working week? Longer naps and more time to spend outdoors sounds like a pretty good deal.
And this is exactly how people in the United Arab Emirates must be feeling after the government announced that it will “transition to a four and a half day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.”
The UAE Media Office tweeted that all Federal government departments will move to the new weekend from January 1, 2022 whereby the weekend will start at 12:00 local time on Friday and run until Sunday night.
#UAE announces today that it will transition to a four and a half day working week, with Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend.
All Federal government departments will move to the new weekend from January 1, 2022. pic.twitter.com/tQoa22pai9
— UAEGOV (@UAEmediaoffice) December 7, 2021
The new working day will be eight hours from 07:30 to 15:30 Monday to Thursday, and 07:30 to 12:00 Friday, according to the announcement.
There is also the possibility of flexible working hours and work-from-home options on Fridays, while the move will ensure “longer weekends to boost productivity and improve work life balance,” the government expressed.
However, it’s still unclear if companies in the private sector will also hop on board this four and a half day week.
The idea of shrinking the work week is clearly gaining traction, and according to the BBC, evidence suggests that one of the biggest advantages of working fewer weekly hours is that it makes people “better” workers, while research shows people are likely to get more done when they work fewer hours, and less done when they work more hours.
“For example, a 2014 study from Stanford University suggested that productivity plummets after working 50 hours a week; other experts suggest 35 hours as the optimal work time before productivity begins to decline, while one school of thought says we should only work six hours per day,” they add.
So the burning question is: will South Africa ever hop on the shorter working week train and do you think this will increase productivity?