A 4-day work week may not sound so familiar in the commercial world. Very few professionals and corporate policymakers know about it, and a part of them may apply it in their system.
The global pandemic has forced us to reorganize and correlate our ways of living, especially our working patterns. Now it's time to discuss more openly and collectively this new theme.
You probably have the curiosity to know how it will be work or amazed that you're going to have 3- days weekend! Well, it is a big question for both employers and employees if it is going to work for the company policy holding productivity and output.
Here, we'll bring to light the ins and outs of a 4-day workweek with its advantages and disadvantages.
What is a 4-day workweek?
Generally, a 4-day workweek encompasses working 4 days in a week having 3 days a weekend. You may be excited to get an extra one-day holiday more! However, it has two basic approaches. One is the compressed workweek system or 4/10 work schedule; another one is the reduced hour system.
4/10 work schedule
In 4/10 work schedule, you have to work 10 hours for 4 days. It means you have to complete 40 hours of work in a week. It is as same as the 5 days work week where you may work for 8 hours a day.
This system is commonly known as the compressed workweek system. As most of the companies run in 40 hours working technique, the four ten work schedule may be applicable to them.
Reduced hour system
In this system, you may work 8 hours a day for 4 days a week. You don't need to work for 40 hours instead of 32 hours a week. It seems more appreciable for employees than employers.
But the productivity adviser and author of The Productivity Project and Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey believes that if you have the right elements like energy and attention, you can complete your work in 32 hours than 40 hours before the deadline.
Companies with 4 days of work week
The trend of business is taking a new path for the retention of its interest. Companies are changing their policies to sustain and gain their targets, ensure employee engagement and health security, and get the best outcome within the targeted time.
In continuity, many companies move into four days workweek system. For example, Perpetual Guardian gave a trial of four days work week and observed an amazing impact on productivity, employee retention, team engagement, and leadership. They have applied the four-day workweek system on a long-term basis.
Managing Director of Unilever New Zealand, Nick Bangs, said their goal was to measure performance on output, not time. They believed the old ways of working are outdated and no longer fit for purpose.
Some more companies that have a four day work week are-
- Shake Shack
- Perpetual Guardian
- Unilever New Zealand
- Microsoft Japan
- Radioactive Public Relations
Many companies are also running a trial of this system or intent to move to the four-day workweek system.
Benefits of a four day work week
Before going to a broad discussion of the advantages of four day work week, let’s see a statistic showing that 57% of people support to introduce 4 day work week in the UK and 71% of people will get happy in Britain.
You may get the following advantages from the shorter work week:
Improve work-life balance
As you get more time to spend with your family and personal time, It helps to balance your personal and professional life. You get more time to chase your passion or personal improvement.
It helps to boost productivity, implicitly increasing employee morale and contentment. A study by Stanford University shows that work-life balance programs improve employee performance by 13%.
A study by Stanford University shows a relative relation between hours worked and productivity. The total output decreases with increased working hours.
The reason behind this degradation is stress, boredom, repetition of work for a long time, fatigue, and other factors. So, the less you get time to complete a task, the more you can concentrate and focus on your work and increase your productivity.
Lessen the non-work activites
When you have to complete the same amount of work but in a shorter time, your focus automatically concentrates on the main task. You knock off the non-work related activities. It's an open secret that almost half of your work is completed during the last time of the deadline.
When it's about working in a team, people reduce unnecessary talks, meetings, and gatherings. So, the output comes within the deadline with hefty efficiency.
From the starting of Covid-19, organizations are concern about the health issues of the employers and employees. They are continuously taking many measures to maintain health safety.
In a four-day workweek, you may maintain social distancing and health safety more. Flexible scheduling may help you to complete your target, avoiding the mass crowd in the office.
The downside of a four day work week
A 4 day work week is not always the jewel in the crown in the workplace. It has some disadvantages too.
Hard for the blue-collar workers
It's tough for the factory workers or wage earners to enjoy a four-day workweek. The factory or industries may run 24/7. If there is not enough workforce, the employers will not allow applying for a 4-day workweek.
Besides, day laborers can't avail of the facilities because their livings won't support taking long and regular holidays.
Detrimental for some business organization
If any company takes the 4/10 work schedule, they may face a sudden drop in productivity because employees may feel exhausted working 10 hours incessantly. Also, many small organizations have limited human resources. They can't afford to run the business by scheduling.
Some customers need 5 or even 6 days of support. So, those organizations cannot adopt a 4-day work week.
Negative effect on customer retention
Some businesses need to deal with customers so frequently that 4 day work week may have an adverse effect on them. Because your organization may run in a new technique, but your customers won’t.
For example, running a daycare or child care school may need to open 5 or 6 days a week. If you want to close it for 3 days, you can’t hold your clients.
How to implement a 4-day work week in your organization?
Before going to a broad discussion, first, you’ve to think if the 4 day work week really fit for your company or not. Many companies and services are not suitable for this plan. However, try to find the answer to the few topics below.
- Is your company consistent with the 4-day work week schedule?
- Is it right for your business?
- Are your employers and employees ready to adopt the new policy?
- Does the four day work week give you the exact output and productivity you want?
- Does the idea hold your customer retention or interest?
If all of the answers get a positive indication, go for the implementation process. We provide some tips to make it easy for you.
Set an objective and clarify your purpose to move to a four-day work week
Make a clear conception and target you want to fulfill what you expect from your team. Include your mates to think and study the outcome, how they will take this opportunity, how it impacts productivity and employee engagement.
Leaders and managers should take this opportunity as an advantage to role, guide, and support their subordinates. It is vital to create a strong community and bond with your personnel and help them identify their targets and objectives.
Determine the customer impact on switching to a four-day workweek
You might want to change your working pattern, but your customer won’t. Your customer may work on five or six days throughout a week. It may be probably a matter to think about customer interest and expectation.
The effect depends on which technique you’d apply in your office. You can choose the compressed workweek system or 32 hours working system, maintaining complete and smart scheduling of your employees. Or, you can select a whole three days weekend.
Before choosing any one of them, please consider your customer expectation from your service.
Plan for policy and choose the right tools
After choosing the right system of 4/10 work schedule, prepare a complete guideline and instructions for every sector of your company. Make the guideline as much as practical as you can.
If your employees feel the courage and enthusiasm, you should consider this energy and perk parallel with the time. Try to use employee engagement as much as you can. You can use some dedicated software to handle your work more smartly and efficiently. These tools are time tracking and employee monitoring software like Apploye, project management software like ClickUp, communication, and collaboration application like Slack, etc.
Clarify the wage and hour issues
Some hold a misconception on the wage issues. They think the reduced hour or shorter week may reduce the salary. But practically, it is not like that. If your office expects the maximum output and productivity as before the practice of the 4-day workweek, you can expect the right payment.
Already Microsoft Japan has chosen to shift to four days workweek paying the same salary to its employees. The result has shown a jump of 40% productivity growth.
Regarding manage the extra day weekend, you can schedule your employees’ duties. Not necessarily giving them incessant weekend, you can split the day off. If you can manage the continuous 3 days weekend, go for it.
Run a trial before implementation
Before going to direct implementation, run a trial for a certain period, and observe your company's overall status, how the productivity changes, how employees engage in the new norms.
If you get a positive response, you can enroll for the four day work week.
What do you think of 4 days work week?
The business always needs a smarter solution to get the best outcome and productive and contented employees. Especially when the whole world is inert for the pandemic, we need to get a new direction to survive and win the inversion.
The 4-day work week may fill the urge to take the new dimension in business. We have tried to give room for thinking about it. Before you move to four days work week, keep in mind all the tips we’ve provided above.