The COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus pandemic, has completely changed the way we live and work in our society. In order to contain and combat the viral outbreak, states have implemented social distancing provisions and have closed down numerous office buildings since large gatherings were banned with many companies being forced to change to a remote-based system. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently came out to advocate for more corporations to take it a step further and start implementing a four-day workweek amid the public health crisis.
In an interview with Business Insider, Yang discussed the importance of making the change to increase productivity, especially amid the viral outbreak. “It would help get us off of this hamster wheel that we’re on right now, where we’re all sort of racing against the clock in service of this like giant capital efficiency machine,” Yang said to Business Insider. “And the race is driving us all crazy.”
Companies like Microsoft’s subsidiary in Japan have already announced that their workers will be switching to a four-day workweek with the “Work-Life Choice Challenge.” Andrew Barnes who works as the CEO of Perpetual Guardian discussed the transition to a four-day workweek with his company in New Zealand in 2018. “The world has now said, ‘Actually, we have this great experiment called COVID-19,’” Barnes said to Business Insider. “We’re questioning how the world will work and shape going forward. Your biggest risk now is not getting ahead, because to get ahead of the curve, you’ve got to introduce something like this.”
“In our business, some people will take a day off. Some people will take two half-days. Some people will work five days, but they will work compressed hours,” he added. “So what we’re talking about is a reduction in the working week. Not everybody comes out with a three-day weekend. For some people it is, but for a lot of people, actually, the last thing they want is to have a three-day weekend.”