• Workers can take three steps to avoid making their email inbox their first priority at work.

Workers can take three steps to avoid making their email inbox their first priority at work. (Photo : Reuters)

Chinese laborers are calling for a four-day workweek to stave off work stress. Many believe that life should not be all about work and that leisure, more than ever, is necessary to live the happy life.

A survey by the premier Chinese Web portal Sina showed that 50,000 participants, or 88.4 percent of the total number of respondents, wish that one day would be shaved off the ordinary five-day workweek.

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It seems that two off days are not cutting it out for majority of workers anymore. The top reason given is that work should not be treated as everything, and the more important thing is to know how to live.

The idea to have a three-day weekend is not a novel one. It has been suggested a few times already. Back in 2013, a Renmin University professor, Wang Qiyan, made the argument that Chinese people would be able to work less by 2030. The professor, who is an expert in recreational economy, believes that three days off each week can benefit all. However, the issue stirs public debate all the time.

It is not only China that is in conundrum over the viability of such a proposal. Some North European countries as well as cities in the U.S. applied the four-day workweek policy and these countries demonstrated that such a policy can have positive and negative effects.

In Utah, for one, the positive effects associated by such a policy were only experienced for two years after implementation. However, it was later on scrapped when a lot of people started to complain about the lack of services during Fridays. In addition, the savings that the country experienced for the first two years, such as reduced utilities and transport costs, waned in 2011.

According to experts in China, the same problem can occur. It is expected that the benefits of such a policy may only last for the short term. However, both cultural and habitual inertia may undermine the policy, hindering it from expanding more widely.