Pakistan Experimenting With a Shorter Work Week 

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Pakistan is currently amid an energy crisis. On top of this, the economy is in shambles. As a result, Pakistan is in immense debt, and at the same time, there is an international increase in oil prices. These circumstances have compelled the government to adopt a 4 or 5 work week. The main reason why a short work day could work is to decrease energy usage. Not only will places of work use less energy but commercial markets will be closed earlier as well. The government also announced a decrease in the quota of fuel given to government employees. According to initial estimations, Pakistan could save $2.7 billion per year. 

The energy crisis has caused a significant shortage of electricity in the whole country. A number of powerplants are on maintenance at the same time. Many areas of the country are experiencing 12 hours of load shedding every day. A shorter work week could benefit the whole country.

There is proof of a shorter work week benefiting economies and businesses, as this has been done in countries before. Microsoft observed a 40% increase in productivity when it introduced a 4 day week in Japan. Ice land has had multiple successful experiments with a shorter work week. During which productivity improved or remained constant, while employee morale rose substantially. Its effect could be worth exploring in Pakistan as well.

If there is one thing we have learned from the recent pandemic, it is that not everyone needs to be in the office at all times. People can work just as well if not better from home. Although there are a few exceptions many offices can afford to have a 4-day office plus 1 day remote work week.

The power crisis has been blamed on the previous government. Mismanagement of the power sector by not shutting down plants for periodic maintenance has been a major reason why the energy output of Pakistan is much lower than the demand. There is a 4 600 megawatts difference between supply and demand, with supply at 21 000 megawatts and demand at 25 600 megawatts.

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Musa Qaiser
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