Some industries have noted that there isn’t the same need for employees to work as many hours each week as they have in the past. The global trend is seeing a significant switch to a 4-day workweek. It has always been a struggle to balance work and life, and this new trend may resolve this struggle.
Should Employers Offer 4-Day Work Weeks?
A few of the large corporations, such as Shake Shack and Microsoft, have offered the 4-day work week as part of an effort to provide their employees a better work/life balance. It has shown that by cutting the time at work down by one day, employees were able to get more work done in their shorter ‘at-work’ timeframe.
Employers could benefit from the shorter workweek by preventing employee burn-out. Cutting out one day of work could prevent this and potentially improve productivity. Some feel the answer is more in providing flexible hours than a blanket rule for reducing the number of days per week. Flexible hours would allow an employee to work longer one day to take off early the next for a scheduled event in their life.
What are the Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Work Week?
Technology advancements are making the 4-day work week look more attractive to both employers and employees. AI technology is significantly impacting every aspect of every industry, and we may be seeing more remote workers, as well as 4-day work weeks. These working conditions have both an upside and a downside:
Pros for a 4-Day Work Week:
Increased productivity is at the top of the list. Employee productivity increases to compensate for the lost day. A study conducted in New Zealand showed overall productivity peaks between 25 and 30 hours per week for people over 40 years of age.
Efficient usage of time is another benefit for employers as workers will spend less time on tasks that are not as important, such as too many meetings. There will also be less ‘run out the clock’ scenarios where time-wasters take excessive breaks or use work time for social time.
Employee satisfaction is higher with less stress and a better balance between work and life. The balance will make for happier workers who will want to engage in their work more with increased motivation and creativity.
Team building improves as there is an emphasis on efficiency with less time wasted on disputes. The whole team’s goals are more in focus.
Fewer overhead costs are another benefit for employers when they can reduce office maintenance fees and utility costs.
Cons for a 4-Day Work Week
It can create an expense for employers. If employees fail to meet the work requirements necessary to keep the business successful, it can cause an employer to lose business and revenue.
It does not work for all industries. There are industries where it is required that the business maintains a presence 24/7. These industries would find it impractical to use a 4-day workweek. This risk applies to industries such as real estate where employees benefit from being on the job more days.
There is a push for the 4-day work week, and much to figure out. Each company will be different depending on their workforce. As an employer, you may want to experiment with a small task force and see how productivity continues before implementing it company-wide. Or, you may feel confident in your employees to continue their efficiency with a 4-day workweek. Time brings change, and this may be the new change that improves your business success.