The 4-day workweek has been considered a way to improve employee well-being with less stress on employers. Several companies worldwide have implemented this idea, including those in Japan and other countries that experienced COVID -19 pandemics which led them to evaluate how people operate at their jobs due to changes in society.
Now more than ever, many workers became remote entrepreneurs or took time off from full-time positions to care for sick family members. It was noticed that despite these things, people were still able to be productive, which has been a driving force.
Things to consider when looking at a 4-day workweek are:
- A 4-day workweek aims to achieve the same results in fewer hours, so people have more time to pursue other interests, spend time with loved ones, and manage their lives.
- Companies could benefit through increased sales, decreased worker burnout, and lower turnover, among other positives.
- Emphasising results instead of hours logged means no need to cut pay or benefits.
- A significant shift in how we think about and approach work is a precursor to standardising a 4-day workweek.
What is a 4-Day Workweek?
Workplaces should be designed to accommodate the needs and preferences of their employees. It means that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to working hours.
However, some companies choose Friday afternoon or morning as an “extra” day off in order not to disrupt internal operations with less conventional schedules like this example from Japan:
Monday-Thursday 9 am – 5 pm; weekend days 1 hour before closing time effective immediately.
With the average American working 1,767 hours per year (34 weekly) and other countries’ workers having even more free time, we have ample vacation days. But when you look at these numbers closely, there are some interesting exceptions to this generalisation found throughout various cultures around the world, such as Japan, where employees only get 31 minutes off from their daily schedule every day!
The Benefits of a 4-Day workweek
The fundamental goal of a four-day workweek is to improve workers’ quality of life. By working fewer hours overall and having three full days off, people have more time for personal priorities like these:
- Spending quality time with family, friends, and pets
- Doctor appointments
- Personal development
- Home maintenance and improvements
- Household management
These are the benefits that employers might expect from giving employees more control over their time:
- Increased sales
- Reduced employee burnout and improved employee retention
- Lower operating costs for an office (unless the company is already all-remote)
- Larger applicant pool for open positions
The Challenges of the 4-Day Workweek
The 4-day workweek sometimes means that employees maintain their pay and benefits. Some organisations have reported using it as a cost-saving measure, like Stanley Black & Decker or The Los Angeles Times, which managed to trim 20% from payroll costs for three months after implementing this new schedule in 2013.
The poll by Gallup found that people working 4-day weeks reported lower levels of burnout and higher well-being compared with those who work five or six days per week. This finding suggests a possible explanation for why some organisations experience low employee engagement when they offer flexibility in the form of “team gyms” – a space where employees can meet privately during busy periods without external distractions like phone calls from managers interrupting them.
Indeed, it has been shown previously that a 4-day workweek significantly improves overall moods despite being disruptive at first glance.
The Bottom Line
The 4-day workweek is a hot topic in today’s world. There have been many successful cases of people who have decreased their time spent on weekends and increased productivity. Still, every person or business cannot do this because not all industries need five days’ worth of labour per week to succeed properly.
With the right partner, you can grow your business in a way that is both quick and compliant. Our international workforce partners are experienced in helping growing companies to reach new heights across borders worldwide. Take advantage of our EOR services which automatically send support payments made by employers like yourself – all handled promptly every month. Contact us today to speak with our experts about switching to a 4-day workweek!