Greece Implements a Six-Day Work Week To Boost Productivity Amid a Failing Economy

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jul 05, 2024

While many developed countries are transitioning into four-day workweeks, Greece has decided to work their employees even harder with just one day off a week in an attempt to boost the economy.

The legislation took effect this week and will force most businesses that operate 24 hours to schedule their employees for six days a week instead of the standard five. Many labor experts think this move may have the opposite effect in boosting productivity.

Four Day Work Week

The four-day workweek was implemented to help employees work 32 hours per week instead of the standard 40 while keeping benefits and pay the same.

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Many countries and large organizations worldwide have taken on this model and proven results. Employees tend to work harder and produce the same or better results when posed with more flexibility and free time.

Shorter Working Hours Leads to Better Health Benefits

Although many companies have bemoaned hiring Gen Z employees because of their strict workplace boundaries and desire to leave work at the office, there is some validity to working fewer hours.

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Many experts agree that fewer work hours but time spent clocked in entirely focused on tasks can result in better long-term health outcomes. Spending more time outside, partaking in physical activity, and sharing time with loved ones can all contribute to a longer and healthier life.

New Legislation in Greece

The new legislation in Greece has implemented a new six-day work week for businesses that operate on a 24-hour basis, such as industrial and manufacturing facilities.

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The regular workweek will bump from 40 hours to 48. Those who do work the extra day will receive a 40% bump in overtime pay. For many young Grecians who struggle to keep up with the high unemployment rate, the additional funds may be worth the trade.

White Collar vs Blue Collar Productivity

The four-day workweek benefits white-collar and office positions that work on a set number of tasks to be completed weekly.

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On the other hand, manufacturing jobs depend on the constant production of goods; the more hands working at any given time, the higher the output and, therefore, the revenue of a company.

Why Did Greece Push for the Change

Greece’s government hopes that the move will help with labor shortages in the country. It will also ensure that workers will be paid for overtime, helping many struggling locals.

A stone board walk with small tables and white and blue chairs in front of classic stucco houses in Greece on the ocean

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Despite the backlash, officials think the boosted productivity will result in better life-satisfaction for residents.


Push Back on the Ruling

Many worker advocates have come out in vocal opposition to the new legislation. Many agree that factories need to be constantly producing in order to generate profit but the new move might create undesired results.

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Many think that the legislation will result in high turnover for overworked employees, burnout, illness, and even death due to accidents on the job caused by tired workers. This fact is especially true for employees who work with their hands in manufacturing or construction.


Working More Is Bad for Employee Health

Malissa Clark, the director of the University of Georgia’s Healthy Work Lab that studies work-life balance, says, “It definitely feels like a step in the wrong direction and shortsighted.”

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She also noted that among research, it’s widely accepted that long work hours are detrimental to employee health.


Many Americans Look Forward to Shorter Work Weeks

The majority of American workers agree that a four-day, 40-hour workweek could have an overall positive change on their well-being.

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Many US companies that have piloted the program have noted a considerable boost in employee morale and production output due to the increased time away from the office on weekends and flexibility in scheduling.


Millennial Workers Choose More Freedom

In general, Millennial workers often choose more freedom, life satisfaction, and flexibility over promotions and kudos from bosses.

Two men and one woman sit at an open concept desk at their own computers focused on their work

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With reductions in benefits and retirement funds, young workers don’t see the same benefits in putting in additional hours for the company’s profits at the expense of their own well-being.


Many Places Still Favor Six-Day Work Weeks

Many countries in Asia that have intense workplace cultures still promote a six-day work week for both office and manufacturing sectors.

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However, the same countries often score low in life satisfaction and overall happiness.


The Happiest Countries Have Short Work Weeks

Countries like Denmark and Sweden often score extremely high on the life-satisfaction index.

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Although both countries have strict laws and high taxes, many residents say that working fewer hours and having most of their basic needs met by the government contribues to their ability to live full and fulfilled lives.