Part of the logic of the 4-day week is that it can help people avoid burnout, and make jobs for which they’re highly trained and emotionally invested more sustainable— and hence make it possible to do have longer, more fulfilling careers. In many professions today you have to put yourself at risk of burnout. Indeed, I have a hard time thinking of professions that people enter assuming they can spend a lifetime doing it, given current working conditions. Some, like the military and law enforcement, have always been mainly professions for the young; but law, teaching, medicine, nursing, engineering, management, even the ministry used to be professions in which you could imagine a long career, but which all now suffer from big challenges with burnout.
The Times recently had an article, inspired in part by the Great Resignation, arguing that “early retirement [is] driving inflation and harming growth:”
Early retirement is stoking inflation and damaging growth while adding pressure to already strained public services, a report into Britain’s “missing” workers has said.
It’s honestly too early to know what real impact the 4-day week has on retirement, but it’s absolutely the case that it’s attractive to some people as an antidote to burnout, and a tool for helping people continue to do great work as they age, become parents, and go through other big changes.