It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m sure many people can share my sentiment about how quickly the weekend has come and gone. No matter how much or how little I do in a weekend, Friday to Monday will inevitably go 10 times quicker than Monday to Thursday, it’s always the way.
This got me thinking about The Gambia and their president’s, Yahya Jammeh, recent decision for the public sector to have a four-day week. Just imagine: an extra evening out, an extra lie in and an extra day to go to the post office. Who wouldn’t want that?
With the new regulation now in place in The Gambia, public sector workers start work at 8am and finish at 6pm Monday to Thursday, still totalling a 40-hour week but with the luxury of having Friday off. President Jammeh hopes this arrangement will allow Gambians to devote more time to prayers, social activities and agriculture.
This isn’t the first time that a four-day week has been tested. In 2008, about 17,000 government officials in the US state of Utah started working four 10-hour days in an attempt to cut costs. However, this was short lived with the five-day working week reinstated in 2011, because it didn’t save as much money as they originally hoped and residents were complaining about not having access to services on Fridays. The four-day week concept was discussed in the UK last year. The New Economics Foundation think tank urged UK companies to introduce a four-day week, stating it would make their workers “healthier and happier”, and it would also reduce pressure on public services and increase employment.
There have been mixed reactions towards The Gambia’s recent change. Many critics have commented negatively, expressing how they think it will be disruptive and promote laziness. On the other hand, others have questioned the idea in a positive way, debating whether or not this is something that could translate to the private sector as well, or even to Europe? How would it work if some countries had Friday off and others Monday?
With international companies like SilverDoor, it can be difficult enough adapting around countries that have different working hours and days to each other. Although many people love the sound of a four-day week, if it were to be implemented in Europe and in the private sector, it would undoubtedly raise some issues. With the amount of time you have to liaise with other countries minimised even further, getting decisions made and deals signed off would take a lot longer than it does already. How would it work if some countries had Friday off and others Monday? That would leave just 3 days a week for communication between certain countries, perhaps not making it such a good idea after all.