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Letters to the Editor: How many of society’s problems would a four-day workweek address?

The southbound lanes of the 110 Freeway are empty.
The southbound lanes of the 110 Freeway are empty in March 2020 because of COVID-19-related shutdowns.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

To the editor: Thank you for your excellent editorial about the many benefits of a four-day workweek. The pandemic has taught society that it is imperative to be flexible with how we live and work.

In August 2020, the Los Angeles City Health Commission had an academic discussion on the myriad health benefits of a four-day workweek. In addition to cleaner air and decreased commute time, reduced rates of hypertension, lower stress levels and better control of diabetes were also found to be among the benefits of switching to a four-day workweek.

If government encouraged schools and businesses to be flexible and allow (where possible) two days of telecommuting overlaid on a four-day workweek, everyone would be commuting on different days, and the health improvements would be even more dramatic.

With fewer people in the workplace on any given day, viral spread would be less likely, and in this or future pandemics social distancing would be an easier achievement. Job productivity would increase, travel efficiency would improve, and the long-term costs of providing healthcare would most likely decrease.

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Howard C. Mandel, Los Angeles

The writer is president of the Los Angeles City Health Commission.

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To the editor: I’m impressed by the editorial board’s call for an “experiment” to determine if the same amount of work can be accomplished in a four-day versus five-day workweek.

I eagerly await the subsequent experiments, which will no doubt determine that three days can achieve the same results as four days, and then ultimately prove that one day is exactly as effective as two days.

The ultimate achievement will be a zero-day workweek with powerful benefits to the economy, climate, social justice, traffic and tourism.

John DeBello, Bonita, Calif.


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