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Need another reason to switch to a 4-day workweek? It helps fight climate change

When the pandemic first forced offices to close and the number of commuters on roads suddenly dropped, the environmental impact was visible in cities like Los Angeles and New Delhi: Smog disappeared as more cars stayed at home. Carbon emissions temporarily fell. A new report looks at how some of the same benefits could come from a shift in schedules if more companies shifted to a four-day work week.

The report from the 4 Day Week Campaign and the environmental organization Platform London, found that if the U.K. moved to a four-day working week by 2025, emissions could drop by 127 million metric tons, or more than 20%—roughly equivalent to taking the country’s entire fleet of private cars off roads.

“I think for quite a long time now, especially the last couple of years, the benefits of a four-day working week with no loss of pay—in terms of the boost that we’re given in terms of mental health and well-being of workers—has been very obvious and increasingly understood across the board,” says Joe Ryle, a campaigner with the 4 Day Week Campaign, an organization pushing for a 32-hour workweek (with full-time pay) in the U.K. Some businesses are also realizing that a shorter week can boost productivity because workers are more focused and refreshed when they are in the office. “But actually, there’s a whole other side to it,” he says. “It’s also going to be very good for the environment.”

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