Six-Day Workweek Introduced in Greece to Boost Productivity – Will Workers Benefit or Suffer?

Athens, Greece – In a surprising move that goes against the grain of recent trends, Greece has implemented a new legislation mandating a six-day workweek for businesses operating 24 hours a day. The aim of this change is to enhance productivity, with workers having the option to work up to 48 hours a week. Those opting to work the additional day will receive a substantial 40 percent increase in overtime pay.

This decision by the Greek government stands in stark contrast to the growing global movement towards shorter work weeks, with research indicating the benefits of a four-day workweek on productivity, well-being, and employee satisfaction. However, Greek officials argue that this shift will help alleviate labor shortages, ensure proper compensation for overtime work, and tackle issues related to tax evasion and undeclared work. Despite these claims, critics fear that the new legislation may lead to unintended consequences such as high turnover rates, burnout, illness, and even mortality.

Malissa Clark, director of the University of Georgia’s Healthy Work Lab, expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of increasing work hours on employee health. She emphasized the detrimental effects of long work hours and the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In the United States, a recent Gallup survey revealed that 77 percent of workers believe a four-day, 40-hour workweek would have a positive impact on their well-being. Several U.S. companies that have experimented with shortened workweeks have reported favorable outcomes, further supporting the benefits of reduced working hours.

While a six-day workweek is commonplace in many parts of Asia and other developing countries, the trend towards shorter workweeks is gaining traction globally. Countries like France, Belgium, Iceland, Japan, and South Africa have all explored or adopted the four-day workweek.

Despite the potential advantages of shorter workweeks, challenges remain in widespread adoption, including concerns about staffing, productivity, costs, and operational changes. Critics argue that extending work hours may result in decreased productivity, more errors, slower task completion, exhaustion, stress, and health issues.

Looking ahead, experts predict a shift towards fewer working hours as companies continue to focus on efficiency, technology, and the well-being of employees to drive both employee satisfaction and profitability. The debate over the ideal workweek continues, with differing perspectives on the most effective approach to balancing work and personal life.