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Artificial intelligence in companies and the four-day working week

Algorithmic management, mainly used by gig economy companies (e.g. Uber and Deliveroo), is entering more sectors of the economy. In the case of office and white-collar jobs, it can be used in recruitment, tracking employee performance, acquiring new skills, and increasing productivity. PwC’s 2022 survey of 1,000 companies found that between ⅙ and ¼ of them had used AI to recruit and retain employees in the past 12 months. The European Commission is working on two acts that will regulate the use of artificial intelligence at work so that it does not threaten workers’ fundamental rights.

Will the four-day week soon be the standard? The Netherlands and Germany have the shortest working week in Europe while enjoying some of the highest productivity, and when Microsoft Japan implemented the four-day working time, productivity increased by 40%. Recently, the UK’s largest pilot programme so far ended: in 70 companies, 3,300 employees had their hours reduced by 20% without any reduction in their pay. At the intermediate stage, 95% of companies said they had maintained or improved productivity, and 88% said they would continue the project after the testing period. The full results of the experiment will be known soon. “A large portion of the population is underemployed, and another large portion is overworked,” says Joe Ryle of the Four-Day Week campaign. – Shorter working hours are a natural way to share responsibilities across the economy”.

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