Why a 4-day workweek is good for the environment

Plus, how you can earn free Starbucks while going green

Apr 21, 2021 | Current events | Business
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More siestas, smaller carbon footprint

From New Zealand to Germany, the four-day workweek is gaining traction and boosting productivity. Spain, home of the afternoon siesta, is the latest pioneer in reduced hours and poised to become the first country in the world to roll out the concept nationwide. Earlier this year, the Spanish government proposed a three-year pilot project to help interested companies make the switch with minimal risk. Financed with money from the country’s coronavirus recovery fund, the €50 million plan would subsidize 100% of the employer’s extra costs for hiring and reorganizing in the first year, with aid reduced to 50% then 25% in the consecutive two years.

Working less not only benefits employees but the environment as well. Talk about a win-win:

  • In addition to boosting workers’ productivity by 40%, Microsoft Japan lowered its electricity costs by 23% and printed nearly 60% fewer pages during its pre-pandemic experiment with the four-day workweek in 2019.
  • A four-day working model could reduce workers’ car mileage by as much as 9%, not to mention reduce the need for office space and computer usage.
  • In the UK, 51% of employees said they would drive their cars less if they worked one less day, typically reducing their weekly mileage by 10 to 19 miles.

As the four-day week trend takes hold in Europe, you might start to see more companies stateside recognize that the shorter week is good for business, the planet, and you.


  • Big Tech goes green: Facebook has reportedly reached its goal of using 100% renewable energy. Meanwhile, Apple has created a $200M fund to remove carbon emissions from the air and support sustainable forestry for its product packaging.
  • Second life: Dead malls across the US are getting new life as corporate headquarters, fulfillment centers, and schools.
  • Sip, return, repeat: Starbucks is piloting a program that allows customers to order their beverages in reusable cups and earn enough credit for a free coffee after returning five cups.
  • Speaking of Joe: On Thursday, President Biden will host a climate summit for international leaders where he’ll try to convince other countries to take bolder action on climate change and introduce his own ambitious targets.