Monday, October 2, 2023
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Four-day workweek may be the way forward

Since COVID-19 broke out a few years ago, the world has been on a fast track to embrace digital technology. During the pandemic, we were offered a glimpse into what it would be like to move away from paper when we were working or studying from home.

As a retiree, I’m at a stage in life where I don’t really have to concern myself with technologies. I have a smartphone, which I use to check up on my favourite football team and send texts to my children to come out of their rooms for dinner. Beyond that, I mainly use my desktop when reading an article on the phone becomes too straining on the eyes.

My youngest son is in his 20s. He graduated from university a few years ago and thankfully, found employment in the private sector soon after. However, when I was his age, the working life wasn’t nearly as complicated. I went to work, did my ‘8 to 5’ and the remaining day made up of recreational and social activities. For my son, on the other hand, the job doesn’t seem to end when he’s home from work.

In the past few years, there has been an increasing fight for a bigger slice of the digital pie, not just in Brunei but all around the world. An entrepreneur friend once told me that hiring staff is no longer a domestic affair; remote workers from all around the world make up her team now. So, someone like my son, who seems aware of the current trends, tries very hard to remain valuable to his company, which means working past the required eight-hour workday.

There is no stopping the digital train; it is coming no matter how much resistance we put up.


More and more youngsters are entering the workforce, and more and more of them are confronted by longer working days. Health authorities are concerned about the deterioration of mental health in young people, and they should. The line between work and life is blurring ever so slightly each day as new technologies continue to be churned out all over the world.

While technologies have afforded us convenience, they also come with the potential of a 24-hour work cycle. There’s where the danger lies. If today’s workforce is expected to sacrifice more personal time for work, then companies ought to not be surprised to see rising employee burnout.

Organisations around the world are currently experimenting with a four-day week. Early adopters have reported increase in productivity and overall satisfaction in their employees.

Perhaps it is time for Brunei to follow suit. We may not be able to stop companies from demanding overtime from their staff but allowing employees ample time to recharge and recuperate may prove a better way forward.

News Consumer

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