The world is collectively toying with the idea of the 4-day working week. With the recent advancements in technology, workloads are becoming easier than ever and with the average worker being active for no more than 2.5 hours during a regular work day, the question arose itself: Is it still necessary to work five days a week? And more than that: can the 4-day work week be beneficial for the farming industry?
The main debate around the 4-day work week is an improvement in the work-life balance of the farmers and a focus on their mental health. They can use the extra time to bond with their peers, family or just take a few relaxing days in which they don’t really worry about work. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the world on its toes, it’s only the natural course of things that suggests how we go on from here. So let’s take a look at some of he effects that the 4-day work week has had for farmers so far:
Farmers Working 4 Days A Week
So what happens if farmers work four days a week only? Farming and agriculture are very different from corporate jobs, mainly because there are a lot of external factors involved such as nature. You need to milk cows twice a day and you need to keep a vigilant eye on the crops and other livestock as well, so there is naturally some apprehension regarding farmers getting three whole days off to be away from their line of work.
However, with the technological advancements in the world of agriculture at present, such as using drones to monitor crops, plants and even livestock and automated machinery used for milking cows and handling other tedious labour around the farm, we don’t really need manual labour present in the farm as consistently as we think we do.
In fact, one benefit of reducing the presence of manual labour on the farm throughout the week is that the demand for more technological advancements and automation will only increase, compelling the tech side of agriculture to come up with more innovations. This will also create opportunities in the technological/agritech sector of agriculture as well.
Another way that many people are executing the 4-day working week is by increasing their daily working hours. So even if people are working only from Monday to Thursday, they are putting in ten hours instead of 8. While there is concern that the long hours of work will have a negative impact on the health of the workers, there is also an outlet which they will have after the end of their work week when they can relax and refresh.
In fact, this initiative is extremely important now, especially in the UK, since a 2018 report suggests that farmers worked an average of 65 hours a week, which is a substantial difference compared to the general 37-hour week that workers in other sectors were required to put in. Naturally, long working hours that were physically and mentally taxing would have an adverse effect on the workers in the industry. This is why an initiative to offer shorter working hours was introduced eventually.
At the same time, around 40% of farmers surveyed in the Farmers Weekly campaign by Fit2Farm wanted to know how to improve their work-life balance. Farmers were slowly feeling the toll of excessive work hours and it did have a negative impact on their mental health; therefore, a 4-day working week could be highly beneficial for most of them.
Unfortunately, with farmers often working 365 days per year and often not taking a break, it almost doesn't seem possible yet, unless farmers looked to job share, however, that could affect their incomes significantly.
General Effects Of The 4-Day Working Week On Farming
There is another very interesting take on the 4-day working week that has been inspired by an idea that the Sri Lankan government has come up with.
The economic conditions of Sri Lanka are suboptimal, to say the least. The inflation in the country is the highest it has ever been and the country is in the midst of one of the worst food and fuel crises it has ever faced in its entire lifespan.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet announced its plans for implementing a 4-day work week, which sounds counter-productive to the needs of a country that is plunged into an economic crisis. The catch is that the public sector employees who will have this leave on Fridays will use this time doing farming duties. This could be done anywhere, from their own backyards to plots that have been reserved only for agricultural purposes. This is a solution that the government has come up with to counter the food shortage in the country whilst also practising sustainability.
Whether this is a good idea or not is a debate for a later date. At present, we need to acknowledge that the idea actually sounds quite decent. If more countries were to adopt this model or a similar model, we could see a boost in the farming industry, unlike one that we have ever seen before.
Not only that, but such models of encouraging the general public to implement farming will also help to inculcate sustainable practices within the people of the country. The people of the country will slowly become aware of the present-day situations in terms of climate change and how they need to opt for green practices moving forward. Not to mention these practices will also help to strengthen the economy immensely as well.
The 4-day working week is an idea that most employees are very enthusiastic about, and rightfully so. With the advancements in technology that we consistently see over the years and how much the world of agriculture has changed in front of our eyes, there is no doubt that the 4-day working week will be an asset to the farming world. Maybe people in the industry will also be encouraged to work on advancements and other changes that help to encourage this method of working and lift burdens from the shoulders of people in the agriculture sector. Hopefully, we can look forward to a brighter future ahead where it is easier for farmers to catch a break!
Here at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists, we have achieved the Gold Standard for the 4 day working week. We are not only at the forefront of our industry, but we really care about our employees. We want our employees to work hard and achieve success, but we also want them to be happy and well. You can find out more about our company here.