Post-COVID-19 Briefing Notes

The 4 Day Week Campaign, supported by the Autonomy think tank, is calling on the government to explore shorter working time for the UK, including a four-day working week, to create a better future for the UK post-COVID-19.

Alongside this call, we have issued a set of briefing notes to help MPs and other organisations understand why and how to implement a shorter working week.

More than our manifesto, this report offers the most up to date and comprehensive analysis of why we need a shorter working week now and how to get there in the UK. This is a timely resource for the growing international movement making the case for a shorter working week.

Listen to our session at The World Transform, with Alice Martin (NEF), Carys Roberts (IPPR), Aidan Harper (4 Day Week Campaign), Will Stronge (Autonomy), Katja Kipping (Die Link), David Graeber (academic/activist).

Back in 2013, David Graeber's essay On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs went viral, it was read by millions and translated in 12 languages. After receiving hundreds of personal testimonies from people working in "bullshit jobs", the author decided to write a book. The argument in the essay and the book is the same: in 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological advances would enable us to work a 15-hour week. Yet we seem to be busier than ever before because entire professions consist of "bullshit jobs" that the world just doesn't need.

Rutger Bregman, March 2017

Rutger Bregman argues that every milestone of civilization - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

In this book, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang combines rigorous scientific research with a rich array of examples of writers, painters, and thinkers -- from Darwin to Stephen King - to challenge our tendency to see work and relaxation as antithetical and to demonstrate the benefits of active rest as a means of raising creativity and productivity. 

David Frayne, November 2015

David Frayne questions the central place of work in mainstream political visions of the future, laying bare the ways in which economic demands colonise our lives and priorities, and considers ways of resisting.

NEF, July 2014

The New Economics Foundation has extensively documented the social, environmental and economic benefits of a shorter working week since the publication of the report 21 Hours: Why a shorter working week can help us all to flourish. In this short article, Anna Coot summarises the key arguments.

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