Wellbeing or career? The majority of workers choose the first option

4 min read

Let’s imagine a crossroads with two signs: on one side there is the one indicating well-being, on the other the one indicating career. What do workers choose? Pagegroup tried to survey 70 thousand professionals around the world and it emerged that 70% believe that work-life balance is one of the main indicators of job satisfaction. Tomaso Mainini, CEO of PageGroup, explains that «after experiencing hybrid and remote work, millions of people have started to rethink their careers and change their scale of values. We should not be surprised, therefore, that almost 8 out of 10 people believe that work one day less a week it would improve their well-being and increase their level of happiness.”

The 4-day week trial

In other words, given the choice, the vast majority of workers would opt for the work life balance rather than for professional success. It is also for this reason that the 4-day working week has made its way onto which experiments are underway to try to regulate it, also through negotiation, always trying to maintain this option as voluntary. Since there is a theme of labor productivity, the question that Pagegroup tried to answer concerns the sustainability that this organizational choice could have for companies. The data of the 33 companies that, throughout the world, for 6 months, have experimented with the principle 100, i.e. 100% of the salary, 80, i.e. 80% of the working hours and 100 i.e. 100% of the productivity objectives are positive: 97% of workers said they wanted to continue working according to the short week method, giving a score between 9 and 10 for the experience gained. In fact, it improves the balance between life and workstress decreases, mental health improves and there is more satisfaction in working.

The crux of business productivity

Mainini interprets these data by saying that «tests on the 4-day working week are continuing, often with very satisfactory results for workers and companies. In many cases, in fact, companies have maintained or increased productivityincreased turnover by 8%, experienced a decrease in absenteeism and found a significant decrease in resignations. However, there is no shortage of negative examples: some companies, by introducing the short week, realized that the days tended to become more demanding, thus also increasing stress levels. These data demonstrate that, as often happens, there is no magic formula to make things work: setting the work to four days (and no longer to five) requires a great organisation and makes it necessary to redesign the processes to prevent the impact from being negative in the long term.”

The improvement of the environment and female employment

In the short week, in addition to the productivity results, the impacts on environment and gender equity. At the moment it can be said that the ecological results are rather limited, but the experimentation that was carried out in Valencia shows an improvement in the air quality in the city thanks to the reduction in travel and the consequent reduction in CO2 emissions. Similarly, a study in the United States showed that a 10% reduction in working hours could lead to an 8.6% decrease in each employee’s carbon footprint.

If we are going to measure the contribution of this organizational modality to thefemale employment it turns out that almost a third of women in the last year have considered reducing their working hours or leaving it altogether, even if this choice would have compromised their financial stability and put an end to their career. In the trials it emerged that an additional day off gave people 22% more time to dedicate to childcare and 23% more time for housework, while the time women dedicated to these responsibilities is diminished. It is therefore clear that the introduction of a four-day working week could contribute to reduce gender inequality and emancipate women workers.

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