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AI and the four-day week

Someone asked me a great question yesterday.

If the pandemic was the catalyst for the #4DayWeek to go mainstream, what might the catalyst be for it to become the norm? 🤔

The impact of Covid and the “Great Resignation” led to exponential growth for the shorter working week movement. 📈

We are now in an incremental growth phase, as company leaders are gradually persuaded of the benefits and convinced by the research, and adoption by industry competitors creates ripple effects to encourage others to follow. 🌱

Numerous sentiment surveys in the UK, the US and Canada suggest that the majority of executives and decision-makers believe the four-day week to be possible, desirable and even inevitable in the near future – but most are still watching and waiting.

But could another external force fast-track this process? 🚀

For me, the obvious answer lies in the impact of #ArtificialIntelligence, for 3 key reasons. 🤖

1️⃣ EFFICIENCY – Many organizations that I have worked with and supported to move to shorter working weeks have automated certain tasks and used technology to improve administrative processes. This was before #ChatGPT #AutoGPT and other tools opened up a world of possibility for how we get our work done. The scope to enhance productivity is now much greater. 💥

2️⃣ PROTECTING EMPLOYMENT – I think that it is inevitable that we reach a point in the cycle where governments and the public sector look to shorter working weeks to help preserve jobs in industries and professions significantly disrupted by #AI. We can use technology to maintain employment and productivity levels while reducing hours. 🌟

3️⃣ FAIRNESS – The inequitable distribution of the spoils of #globalization and #digitalization has led to political polarization and popular backlash against democracies the world over, most notably characterized in the west by the election of #Trump and the #Brexit referendum campaign. We have to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself, and the benefits of AI, #automation and robotics are shared fairly with workers across the economy. One good place to start is through reduced working time. 👍

The pandemic didn’t lead to an immediate surge in demand for the four-day week. If anything, the initial fallout from March 2020 onwards slowed down the pace of change, as leaders grappled with sudden transitions to remote working, supply chain disruption, economic uncertainty and a myriad of other issues. 🌪

It was only a year later, when the transformative change we had collectively experienced started to bed in, that leaders, managers and employees started to truly open up to the potential for shorter working weeks to be possible. 💡

Has the recent explosion in excitement and fear about AI tools and technologies mirrored the early stages of the pandemic? Will this be a precursor for another radical shift in how we structure the workweek?