Four-day week could spark productivity levels

An Australian employee's working day is now constricted tighter and tighter, made up of quick lunch breaks and long overtime.

However, a proposal made earlier this year by a UK doctor claims reducing the working week to four days would solve some of the ongoing issues in the workplace.

President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Dr. John Ashton, said changing the structure of the week would mean workers have more time for their families and to address their well-being. He told the Guardian an increased work-life balance would ultimately help productivity levels in the office.

"When you look at the way we lead our lives, the stress that people are under, the pressure on time and sickness absence, [work-related] mental health is clearly a major issue," he said.

"We should be moving towards a four-day week because the problem we have in the world of work is you've got a proportion of the population who are working too hard and a proportion that haven't got jobs."

Research company YouGov recently conducted a poll in the UK asking that very question. A majority (57 per cent) of workers supported the four-day-week while 71 per cent said it would create a happier community.

Dr Ashton, president of the faculty for three years, is attempting to persuade business executives to consider employee mental health as well as identify ways to assist them through struggles and productivity problems.

"We need a four-day week so that people can enjoy their lives, have more time with their families, and maybe reduce high blood pressure because people might start exercising on that extra day," he said.

Businesses could consider investing in workflow automation that streamlines all human resources components such as payroll. This would reduce the amount of time employees spend on tedious tasks that require manual data entry.

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