The four-day working week: Careful what you wish for?

Is a shorter week a big idea whose time has come? Or is it an unworkable left-wing fantasy? Ben Chu investigates

Friday 04 January 2019 13:43
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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right) has suggested Labour could include a pledge to reduce the working week in its next manifesto
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right) has suggested Labour could include a pledge to reduce the working week in its next manifesto

As a society we can’t seem to make up our minds about work. Do we want more of it? Or less?

There’s a chilling fog of fear over what technological advances will mean for our jobs, with an endless supply of alarming forecasts about how robots and algorithms are set to displace human workers.

But there’s also a furnace of angst about low productivity and under-investment by firms in just the kind of innovations that induce those nightmares of a “jobs apocalypse”.

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