New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Said A Four-Day Work Week Is Better For Productivity. We Think She’s On To Something
Politics is one of several male-dominated professions. In fact, there are very women who are in leadership positions in politics, let alone the heads of government. And while in one part of the world, a Japanese mayor claims that women are not good enough to be out there and shop for groceries, in the same world, a woman has successfully pulled her country out of a pandemic. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is being applauded across the globe for her leadership and disaster-management skills as she has been able to eliminate coronavirus from her country.
However, with that comes the need to rebuild things that suffered from the pause the pandemic put on the world. New Zealand is now planning how to re-open businesses and start the cash flow. Addressing the priorities in hand, Ardern suggested a four-day week going forward. “New Zealand could definitely go to a four-day week in the aftermath of COVID, and in fact, it would be a strategy to rebuild the economy and particularly the hard-hit tourism market as it pivots to a domestic focus,” PM Ardern was quoted saying.
Her main focus is on promoting domestic tourism since international tourism wouldn’t be happening for a while now. Ardern said a four-day work week will not only give the employees the much needed work-life balance but also give them the opportunity for local travel.
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First trip out of Wellington in a very long time, and it was to visit WelTec. The perfect opportunity to talk with students and tutors about our announcement yesterday on trades and vocational training. As part of our COVID recovery plan, we’re making apprenticeships and vocational training in areas we have shortages (think building and construction, manufacturing, care work, community health and counselling) absolutely free! It’s one of the many ways we can invest in skills and education, and is part of a much bigger package of recovery initiatives. I’ll update you on a few others over the next couple of days (all of which have made the Minister of Education much happier than this photo makes him look!)
In fact, Ardern reckons that it will boost productivity. “We need to retain all the productivity benefits working from home has brought, including cleaner air and a lack of gridlock lost productivity from commuting while helping businesses stay afloat,” she said. Ardern further added, “We have to be bold with our model. This is an opportunity for a massive reset.”
While she is encouraging employers to brace this novel work culture, she is leaving the choice to them. “The productivity that can be driven out of that really encouraged people to think about, if they’re an employer and in a position to do so, to think about whether or not that is something that would work for their workplace. Because [a four-day workweek] certainly would help tourism all around the country,” the PM said.
I agree with her. Work-life balance keeps us motivated and going. It doesn’t matter even if you work six days a week, if eventually, you’re going to burn out. In fact, it is a known fact that most people wish they had more time to spend with family and friends. We all wish we could travel, learn a new hobby, and just find time to cater to our mental and physical wellbeing. In India, where there are companies that make you work six days a week, it’s not possible to lead a quality life.
What’s more a four-day work week also helps restore the environment. We should learn from this phase – we’ve been working just fine from home. We realised that if we have time, we can do so much. The air quality is getting better, rivers and seas are getting cleaner – we need to cut back!
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A young female leader with progressive thoughts is an asset to any country. Ardern is the youngest woman to head the government and the second woman to give birth while in office. She ran an entire country through her pregnancy. I just wish people in India realised that mental, physical, and environmental health matters. And those extra days won’t matter if we simply burn out and are dragging ourselves. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind working a bit extra each day, if we get three days off. In fact, my cats would love it!