A number of nations (recently Finland) have been toying with the idea of implementing shorter working weeks and less working hours per day in a bid to boost productivity, improve businesses' carbon footprint and make employees happier, healthier and more energetic individuals.
Companies around the world including in Britain have presented evidence which demonstrates that productivity has been markedly improved by adoption of a 4 day week. They claim to have laid waste to non-productive activities such as internet surfing, office gossip and socialising (where's the fun in that you may say) honing peoples' time around 'useful' work activity.
However, while this may work exceptionally well for some businesses, a 'one size fits all' approach is unlikely to work as was determined in a recent report commissioned by the UK Labour Party. Certain organisations would not be able to satisfy customer demand in this way and many employees, it is believed, would prefer to work 5 days in any case and so would lose out from this policy.
Overall, this is something that businesses can consider as an option, particularly where there is demonstrable success in their sector, but it is unlikely to fly in terms of government policy (the British Government being opposed to this at present). For now then, more is still more.
Reducing the length of the working week boosts productivity. When, in August, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week, productivity work shot up by about 40%. One Melbourne organisation found a six-hour working day forced employees to eliminate unproductive activities such as sending pointless emails, sitting in lengthy meetings and cyberloafing (messing around on the internet). British businesses that have successfully switched to a four-day week include Elektra Lighting, Think Productive and Portcullis Legals.