Iceland has it spot on - a four-day working week is the way forward

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for

We need to be allowed to "switch off" from work, argues Sarah Burgess - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Full-time work is absolutely knackering.

And I’ve only been at it for three years.

To the people who’ve done it for decades: I salute you.

Anyone who isn’t exhausted after working full-time — often with overtime — is clearly some kind of machine, and runs on Vibranium-infused (instead of regular people) blood.

That’s a reference from Marvel’s Black Panther, for those interested.


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Anyway, it must be nice being part of that elite group.

But like probably millions of others who do enjoy their jobs and work hard, I actually get very tired, very easily.

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In fact, I just had a week off, but the irrational pre-work anxiety gave me sleepless nights in the run-up to my grand office return on Bank Holiday Monday. And now I’m shattered again.

Of course, while it might be to do with one of my many health conditions, or the fact people with ovaries get a raw deal due to periods and other unwarranted attacks on our reproductive system (cue the eye roll from the non-believers), I actually think it’s more to do with the needless sanctity of the five-day working week.

Because trials of four-day weeks, with five-day pay, have always yielded excellent results.

A series of trials in Iceland between 2015-19 were recently hailed an “overwhelming success”, with productivity remaining the same or improving and participants feeling less stressed and having more time to spend with their families.

Many, god forbid, even started hobbies.

As of 2021, 85pc of Icelandic workers were currently, or on the way to, a four-day working week.

But here in the UK, it’s almost as if the “pain and gain” mantra is some biblical truth, and that you can only realistically expect - or deserve - success if you’re married to your job and spend your life in its thrall.

I couldn’t disagree more. Give me more time off, please.

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