Its seems we work longer hours now than our parents did

With so much technology in the workplace, it has been long questioned why these aids have not delivered a reduced number of hours worked each week? Many would say they are working more hours now than 20 years ago.

At the end of last year, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Economist Robert Skidelsky got together to explore the logistics of a four-day week. This followed a TUC report in September 2018. The report suggested that UK organisations should adopt a four-day week. Why? Because it would provide focus to help workers finally benefit from increasing workplace automation.

Is it for Government or Business to find solutions to reduced working hours?

Inevitably the topic and the debate around working hours is political. Those on the left choose to use the subject to rise the topic of the millions of extra hours each year worked unpaid by employees. The real issue of working hours is about addressing this unfairness and redistributing the hours worked more fairly across everyone. Those on the right argue trimming the working week by 20% is a madcap idea.  The move is likely to require more borrowing to make up the productivity gap. This leading to higher interest rates and more expensive mortgages for every home owner.

More measured commentary suggests that the notion of a working week is an anathema to many in the 21st Century anyway. The economy is more agile, and people can work far more flexibly, and it is technology that has provided the means to achieve this.

The idea of legislating to make the working week simply one day shorter seems a huge risk. It is also an outdated way at looking at the problem as it assumes all businesses are the same.

Perhaps a more realistic approach is for business owners to view a reduction of hours worked per employee as a desirable outcome. Then to look at their own business models and start to identify particular efficiencies that can deliver the same productivity in less time. This method has the attraction of empowering those in the business to help find the solutions to deliver a reduced working week.

If you want to discuss ideas to generate efficiencies in your business through better use of people contact vivoHR on

Suggested reading: HR Support


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