July 23, 2024

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AI should make the 4-day work week possible for millions of workers

2 min read

Earthly, a London-founded climate tech company, has had a four-day workweek for over two years now—way before the ChatGPT revolution took the world by storm. Following overwhelmingly positive results in a six-month pilot of the shorter week, Earthly decided to stick with it. 

Its employees are more productive with trimmed hours, and with the addition of AI tools such as ChatGPT earlier this year, the four-day week has felt even more seamless, Earthly CEO Oliver Bolton tells Fortune. Earthly now uses the platform to sift through projects, brainstorm, research and streamline operations overall, which has freed up more time for company staff.

“The consensus is when you’ve got four days to get your work done, it gives you that much more focus,” Bolton said. “I see AI as a great opportunity to just be more productive, work more efficiently, get more done to a high level of quality. We’ve had the 4-day workweek without any AI for over a year, so we’ve got that experience. With AI, it can enable us to do more.”

Soon, some of the benefits Earthly has experienced could be seen across Britain—AI could reduce the hours worked by at least 10% for a whopping 88% of its workforce, according to a recent report by Autonomy, which helped carry out the world’s largest four-day workweek pilot last year.

“This represents a huge opportunity for policymakers, trade unions and of course the millions of workers who are likely to be affected in some or another by these new AI technologies,” the authors of the Autonomy report wrote. 

Two AI scenarios

The think tank considered two scenarios—first, where productivity gains from AI cut down hours at work by 20%, and the other, where workers’ jobs are augmented by AI such that their productivity increases by at least 10%. In either case, the report notes that over the next 10 years, 8.8 million Brits could benefit from a 32-hour workweek without suffering a loss in pay. 

“What we’re…

Prarthana Prakash

2023-11-24 06:07:00

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