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How a four-day work week can help combat Climate Change?

Four-day work week | The pandemic's initial effects on the environment were evident in areas like Los Angeles and New Delhi

By aasthakapoor2628
New Update
4 day work week culture

Four-day work week against Climate Change | The pandemic's initial effects on the environment were evident in areas like Los Angeles and New Delhi, where smog disappeared. This happened because more cars stayed at home and the number of commuters on the roads drastically decreased. Hence, carbon emissions also decreased, though temporarily.

The 4 Day Week Campaign and Platform London, an environmental group, determined about their analysis of the four-day work week. They claim, if the U.K. switched to a four-day workweek by 2025, emissions may decrease by 127 million metric tonnes, or more than 20%. This decrease is roughly equivalent to removing all of the nation's private cars off the road.

Less Travel will reduce carbon emissions

Traveling to work through our cars, leads to significant carbon emission as whole. Carpooling as a concept is yet to accepted, and actively used. Although, four-day work week reduce the travel to work, and that is step forward in our fight against climate change. Some companies still following the hybrid model, but four-day workweek can become a norm.

However, there is concern that if people decide to travel on their day off, especially if they do it by vehicle or plane, the advantages of a four-day week won't be same.

Reduction in Energy Consumption 

Also considering that offices would be shut for the rest of the week, it would mean lesser usage of electricity. This would significantly reduce the carbon footprint of offices. However, this would only be possible, if offices don't function on a rotational basis, and are shut for a few days.

The effect that a shorter work week can have on carbon emissions and climate change was examined in a recent piece by The Washington Post. The aforementioned study aggregated evidence from the previous few years. The study, which examined over two dozen nations between 1970 and 2007. The study was conducted in 2012 by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A 10% reduction in labour hours, according to the study, might result in reductions of 12.1%, 14.6%, and 4.2% in ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and carbon dioxide emissions, respectively.

If you're seeking a comparison to the actual world, the Netherlands has the shortest work week on average. The nation's total carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 were 8.42 tonnes, according to figures.

Other reasons

Beyond the above-mentioned reasons, four-day work week we will be economical to the employee. Taking a step back from the hassle culture, may even enable the individuals to adopt more sustainable choices.

This time can also foster healthy relationships, and engage in initiative which enable society to grow in tandem.

In addition, studies have mentioned how, four-day work week to lead to less stress, and hence more productivity.

To achieve the above-mentioned four-day work week we need normalise have work-life balance. In addition, working in industries which have seven day work week, this change can be drastic (sarcasm intended). Working late hours, and pushing your limits is glorified.

The need of the hour is to see things through the lens of climate change, and adopt habit which help the fight climate change.

Potential Issues

A reduced work week does, however, have some potential drawbacks. For instance, if working hours are shortened, customers may purchase more products and services with a higher carbon footprint because they have more free time.

Reduced working hours will probably result in employers hiring more workers to make sure the task is completed. This will happen only if individual employees' hours are cut but the total hours and days that offices or shops are open remain unchanged. This can result in increased levels of commuting overall, depending on how the working hours are set up.

Finally, depending on the industry, it is feasible that companies will increase wages to make up for the tighter availability of their workers if working hours are cut.


The drawbacks are evident, but to ensure holistic impact of the above-mentioned four-day work week sustainable lifestyle changes should be promoted. Four-day work week will barley be the policy intervention which will change the cause of our fight climate change. Although, it can definitely become the way to engage more individuals in the activities which reduce carbon footprint.

The company profits, and finishing an excel sheet will barely matter in the long run which we don't survive.

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