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Does a Four-day Workweek mean a Carbon-Zero Future?

Traffic congestion is a major problem in many cities around the world. It not only wastes time and money for commuters, but it also contributes to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. With big cities such as London, Paris, Los Angeles, and Chicago generating high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and also being known for the highest congestion times, four days of work could be the answer to ameliorate this.

The concept of a four-day workweek has been gaining popularity in the past two years, with many experts touting its benefits for both employees and employers. But did you know that a shorter workweek could also be good for the environment?

Reducing the number of workdays from five to four could have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The study found that cutting one day of work per week would result in a 20% reduction in commuting emissions, as well as a decrease in energy and resource consumption in the workplace. This would mean fewer people commuting to and from work, which would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Less time spent in the office also means less energy used for lighting, heating, etc.

Regarding the UK, in a November 2021 survey of 2,000 employees and 500 business leaders, it was concluded “that if all organizations introduced a four-day week, the reduced trips to work would decrease travel overall by more than 691 million miles a week.”

This would be reduced even more so if the flexibility of working from home continues to take place as well. Employees would technically be going into the office 1 or 2 times at max, which could have a greater effect. Following this, less time is wasted waiting in traffic and allows for more time at home as well.

But how would this impact businesses? Surprisingly, the study found that a four-day workweek could increase productivity and employee satisfaction. With an extra day off, employees would have more time to rest and recharge, which would lead to better performance and higher job satisfaction.

In most recent studies, it has been noticed that people are spending more time in their gardens or going to public open spaces to enjoy their time off as well which has a positive effect on the environment.

Joe O’Connor, chief executive of the non-profit group 4 Day Week Global said that “The majority view coalesces around the idea that intense working often leads to intense living,” “By offering people additional time back, you’re enabling people to have more time to make sustainable life choices.” This could result with people having more time on their hands to take the time to make more relaxing plans and spend more time doing daily chores such as cooking instead of buying ready meals. This could also lead to children having healthier lifestyles and spending more time outdoors with their family other than resorting to being behind a screen.

In conclusion, a four-day workweek is a promising solution to reduce traffic congestion and improve the quality of life for employees as it is a win-win situation for both.

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