Pilot programme overwhelmingly successful in UK
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — A successful trial of a four-day workweek in Britain has been the talk of Jamaican businesses and workers this past week, with many considering whether it’s high time that Jamaica’s workforce adopts a similar operating model.
Dozens of Jamaicans took to social media to voice their opinions on the matter, including by voting in a Loop News poll on the topic.
For the most part, the Jamaican workforce seems favourable towards a four-day workweek, and many expressed a desire to at least give it a fair trial run.
However, at the same time, many do not believe their employers would be as willing to even consider a shorter workweek as an option.
This despite the overwhelmingly positive results of the trial conducted in the United Kingdom, where employers and employees alike lauded the unexpected benefits.
British businesses reported improvements in productivity and employee satisfaction in the four-day workweek trial, with both sides saying they would like the new model to continue.
For Jamaica, it could be worthwhile exploring, considering a regional research centre already recommended the nation consider adopting more flexibility to improve productivity in the workplace.
Jobs in Jamaica urged to implement flexible work options
Just at the start of this year, the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) published a report entitled “The Business of Care”, in which it made several recommendations for addressing longstanding productivity issues in Jamaica’s workforce.
Among these recommendations was that Jamaican businesses, both in the public and private sector alike, make more of an effort to implement flexible working in Jamaica.
However, CAPRI pointed out that “there is every indication that the flexi-work culture has not taken root in the Jamaican workplace”.
Jamaicans responding to the prospect of a four-day workweek likewise indicated their skepticism considering the reluctance of many businesses to adopt even flexible working models like remote work or other alternatives in the wake of the pandemic.
Some social media commenters also hesitated to adopt a four-day workweek, suggesting that Jamaican businesses should start by gradually offering flexible work options before launching straight into a shorter workweek.
Jamaican government and labour officials have refrained from commenting on the matter so far, leaving it to public debate.
Still, Caribbean Employment Services Inc. CEO Joseph Boll suggested it could benefit the Jamaican workforce to at least consider adopting more flexible working options if not the shorter workweek right away.
The CEO underscored benefits that could come with embracing remote work, particularly, including in helping to address brain drain and allowing the nation to tap into international markets, in line with the government’s vision to become a global tech hub.