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How The Four-Day Week Can Save The World

10 September 2020 4:30pm

Zoom in on Norfolk Network Series 2 began with Silicon Valley-based technology forcaster, futurist and author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang as our guest speaker.

Almost a century ago, Bertrand Russell wrote “in praise of idleness” and predicted that by now we could work a 20 hour week. Russell’s future seemed increasingly remote until recently. The pandemic has upended the global economy, and caused tremendous disruption; but it’s also revealed that people and economies could adapt far more quickly than we expected, and opened a space to imagine a future different from the overworked, always-on world that shorted out this March.

In his talk, Alex explained how companies operating in high-intensity, demanding fields— such as software startups, Michelin-starred restaurants, and design agencies— have moved to four-day or thirty-hour weeks, without cutting salaries, sacrificing productivity or profitability. 4-day weeks help companies become better, more efficient places to work; allow them to cultivate, attract and retain talented workers; and foster greater creativity and better work-life balance. The 4-day week can also help companies become more resilient, flexible, and safer, qualities that will be much in demand in the future. Their experience shows that the future Russell envisioned could be within our grasp— if only we’re willing to grasp it.


Alex is founder of Strategy + Rest. He studies people, technologies, and the worlds they make. Since 2000 he’s worked as a technology forecaster and futurist, helping companies understand new technologies and global trends, and their strategic and business implications.

He’s the author of four books, including SHORTER: WORK BETTER, SMARTER, AND LESS– HERE’S HOW; REST: WHY YOU GET MORE DONE WHEN YOU WORK LESS ; and THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION. Together, these books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

He’s given talks and led workshops around the world, from California to Korea to Azerbaijan.

Speaker photo credit: Leila Sultanzadeh

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