In Spain recently it is being experienced how some companies are beginning to install the four-day work week, as the Nordics have been doing for some time. The results are tremendously encouraging. Like any bet in life, only the brave can win. We cannot ignore that we are facing a global paradigm shift and that companies are facing the challenge of “The big recession”.
The fact is that, in an economy like Mexico, with the highest number of hours in the OECD and the lowest productivity, being daring with changes and following the trends of the pioneers would be a safe bet. And the need is not made manifest by me, but by the hard data that should make us reflect on the Mexican social and economic structure.
Mexico has an average of 41 hours worked per week per person. At the opposite extreme, the 27 weekly hours of Germany, Denmark and Norway. In other words, the average Mexican works 51.8% more hours than a Northern European. On the other hand, a Mexican produces 22 dollars per hour worked, a Spaniard contributes 58, a German 72, a Norwegian 93 and an Irishman 109. Brutal.
Therefore, I can think of three reasons to bet on the four-day workday:
1. Improvement of labor productivity and business competitiveness
Not because we work more we are more productive. I will not get tired of saying it. Reducing working hours and investing effort in training, technology and talent means that companies spend less and sell more. Experiments with four-hour days show, almost entirely, increases in productivity per employee and improvement in business results.
2. Improvement of the happiness and conciliation of the collaborators
The Mexican is screwed. I’ve heard this phrase so many times that I think it’s a mantra. What if it stopped being? The happiness of a country is based on the conciliation between personal and work life. More time with the family, with personal projects and rest allows us to better face our work challenges. And, of course, it allows advances in gender in companies.