Middle East

Does reducing weekly working hours help improve productivity?

By Sahar Moussa and Ben Garcia

Kuwait: Pandemics have revolutionized workplaces around the world. Many employees were able to work remotely, reducing working hours to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This new experience proved that employees do not necessarily have to stay in the office for eight hours to be productive. These options are now becoming part of the mainstream, but not all workplaces.

Meanwhile, some countries have begun to discuss the possibility of reducing work weeks to four days, while others have already. Belgium has given employees the right to require employees to work four days a week under a draft amendment to the labor law. With this change, employees will be able to record 38 hours of work in 4 days instead of 5 days, giving them permanent access to long weekends without reducing their salaries.

Sharjah has already switched to a four-day work system that includes a three-day weekend that includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Several reports suggested that Saudi Arabia may also be studying four-day work week, but authorities later denied the news. Do Kuwaiti people accept the idea of ​​reducing weekly working hours? According to a Kuwait Times survey on social media, 84% of respondents are in favor of working four days a week in Kuwait.

Benefits of shorter weekly working hours

Experts believe that working less time leads to a happier, healthier, more enthusiastic workforce and promotes mental and physical health. Studies show that people do more when they work less, and do less when they work longer. “Four days a week will improve people’s productivity and well-being,” wrote one commenter. “Of course, I’m overworked at the expense of mental health, so I support it,” another said.

A 2021 study that tracked Swedish workers showed that shorter working hours reduced stress, malaise, and negative emotions. Another 2017 study found that reducing working hours by 25% improved sleep, while a 1990s study found that working only 6 hours a day did not improve workers’ family life. Shown.

“I support it because I can enjoy more time with my family. It will also solve many problems, especially the lack of maids in Kuwait,” said a Filipino elevator engineer. One Francis Noynay said. He said shorter working hours per week meant that there was no need to hire a nanny for the child. Bangladeshi cleaner Mohammad Sohag said he hopes that shorter working weeks will take place sooner. “I’m a cleaner and they require us to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week,” he complained. “I work according to the manager’s instructions. I agree with working four days a week.”

Disadvantages of short working hours per week

The majority of people support four days of work, but some think that productivity can be sacrificed. “I don’t support it because I don’t want to neglect my son or daughter. Indian expatriate Matthew NR told the Kuwait Times.

Short weekly working hours can also cause problems for some employers. “I’m against that in the sense that the company has to hire more workers,” said Human Resources Manager Anil Thresh. “It’s also not easy to hire new people and train them to do the job.” Suresh also says that the system puts a financial burden on businesses that have already lost a lot of money during a pandemic. I said I would. “I’m in favor of working from home. They can run a” four days a week plus one day at home “system,” he suggested.

Opponents of four-day work week argue that it increases recruitment costs, increases existing inequality between staff, disrupts workflows, and creates challenges in managing multiple teams. increase. In addition, there are concerns that applying this system in Kuwait can impact work efficiency, especially in the public sector, where productivity is often seen as substandard.

“Public sector employees rarely work and do not work properly, so taking three days off a week further reduces productivity,” said one commenter. However, another commenter argued that shorter weekly working hours improved employee performance and generally increased productivity.

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/would-shorter-workweek-help-improve-productivity/ Does reducing weekly working hours help improve productivity?

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