The climate case for working 4 days a week

This period is clearly awful for many millions (including a lot of in this community), but for some of us it’s also highlighting that a little bit of less work is totally achievable, and makes us much happier. It’s also good for the environment.

Nobody is effective in their chair for 37 – 42+ hours per week sat at a desk in an office building. We all know that. We can do more work from homes and coworkers places too. Four days per week removes a whole lot of cars off the road. It also helps to decrease the millions of deaths each year attributable to air pollution. That also helps to decrease health care visits, medication and hospital usage. And it helps all the kids. Not only that, but it would often mean that buildings use less power too. We’ll likely print less and use our computers and internet less (a surprising source of our emissions due to data centres). Cleaners wouldn’t be required as much, and we can wash our clothes less on average. In fact, a study found that if we cut the hours we work by 25% our carbon footprint would decline by 36.6%.

The best part is the time we’ll free up to do the things we need to do that currently cost our Earth a lot of precious resources. That might be repairing our clothes instead of discarding them and buying new. It could be preparing our own meals far more reducing the processing and delivery of these, or many of us baking healthy, fresh bread. It might mean learning new skills to fix household goods. Perhaps we’ll have more time for vertical gardens on our city balconies or permaculture in our yards to grow our own herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Note: We should be encouraging ‘green’ three day weekends so that the net benefits aren’t absorbed by jet-setting mini holidays. Investing in public infrastructure helps this enormously and proves wonderful for our communities. A focus on relocalizing would be of huge benefit. Staggering the days off also helps companies and road congestion.

Bonus: all this generally makes employees more loyal, more motivated, more satisfied, and less stressed (linked to decreasing heart attacks and the likes too).

Who is up for it?