A top doctor (i.e. someone who knows what they’re talking about and not just someone who loves a bank holiday), has recommended the UK phase out five day weeks to combat work-related stress, anxiety and depression. Prof. John Ashton, the leader of the UK’s 3,300 public health experts working in the NHS, government and academia, says a four day week would also help address medical conditions associated with overwork or lack of work, such as high blood pressure.
He focuses on ‘the maldistribution of work’ that damages many people’s health: “The lunch hour has gone; people just have a sandwich at their desk and carry on working. We need a four day week so that people can enjoy their lives, have more time with their families and maybe reduce high blood pressure because people might start exercising on that extra day. If you’ve got two people in a couple working, they need to be able to work in such a way that they can spend time together with their children. It’s a nightmare.”
Britons work some of the longest hours in Europe, which surveys have linked to stress, sleep problems, reduced productivity and the taking of sick leave. A YouGov survey in April found that 57% of workers support the idea of a four day week, with 71% believing it would make Britain a happier place.
What do you reckon? Is our collective mental health affected by our constant drive and pressure to work?
Read more about the theory here.