Since Covid-19 struck and the UK went into lockdown, many have been discussing the ‘new normal’ and various campaign groups in Wales have begun pushing for a new raft of new policies to be implemented, such as Universal Basic Income and the four day working week.
Those on the left have been pushing for a four-day week for many a year now. In the past few weeks we have seen a cross-party group using the Covid-19 crisis to re-introduce the idea. The former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, the SNP MP Mhairi Black and the Green MP Caroline Lucas have written a letter to Rishi Sunak demanding that a commission be set up be set up to examine the issue. With working timetables so mixed up due to the virus, these people argue, this is the right time to make a change that will ‘reduce stress and overwork, boost mental health and wellbeing, and increase productivity’.
To many who don’t want to see any change in our post Covid-19 world these policies may seem ‘extreme’ and ‘unworkable’, but the hunger for societal and economic change has risen up the political agenda and topics previously considered impossible are now being looked at in a more sympathetic manner.
The thought of only working a four-day week, whilst being paid the same salary and having more time to enjoy your personal life appeals to almost everyone. The idea is probably one of the most popular potential changes to our work life balance proposed in decades.
The question many would then ask, is this proposal workable and if so, how should it be implemented?