Four-day work system: Can it make employees happier and healthier?

The idea of ​​reducing work to accomplish more is not a new idea. More and more companies are adopting this method to increase productivity and help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that increasing working hours does not necessarily increase productivity.

In the latest episode Team building to save the world In the podcast, we sat down with Strategy & Rest consultant and founder Alex Pang to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the four-day work schedule.

Pang said that the biggest obstacle to adopting the four-day work system is “not technology, but economic and business model related.”

“Since I started tracking this a few years ago, more companies joined the four-day workweek movement last year than I thought.”

What is a four-day work week?

The four-day work week schedule requires employees to work 4 days and 10 hours a week instead of the traditional 5-day 8-hour work week.

The concept of working four days a week has been around for decades, but it has recently gained popularity among companies such as Google and Best Buy, which offer employees the opportunity to reduce working hours with the same salary.

Proponents of working four days a week claim that it can improve employee satisfaction and productivity, but it can also reduce employee burnout.

Advantages of a four-day work week

Working four days a week allows them time to pursue other interests and can improve their work efficiency. A shorter schedule also has measurable physical benefits.

Less stress and more energy

Reducing the workload is one way to reduce stress, which leads to an increase in energy levels. This may sound counterintuitive, but it is true.

Improve health

Employees who do not work long in the office will have more time to exercise or get more sleep. When your employees are healthy, this may ultimately lead to better performance.

Improve concentration and creativity

Since less time is spent at work, employees are able to pay more attention to details and focus on their work when they go to work. This also allows them more time to think creatively and propose solutions to work-related problems.

One of the arguments against working four days a week is that it makes the company appear lazy. But according to Pang, the situation is just the opposite.

“There are always people who worry that you will be a bit lazy compared to your competitors. But working four days a week now doesn’t mean you are lazier. It shows that you are better at this game than your competitors,” Pang said.

Disadvantages of the four-day work system

Despite all the benefits, the idea of ​​working four days a week still has its opponents. Many people think this is just a pipe dream, and to get the job done, you need to work long hours.

Although this may be a mentality issue, some practical issues need to be considered in the context of shortening the working week.

  • Longer working hours mean greater pressure on both employers and employees.
  • More work-related stress may lead to a higher turnover rate.
  • The need to hire more employees to pay for the deceased working hours increases the cost of the company.
  • Some positions require employees to work 24/7, which makes it impossible to implement a four-day work week on a company-wide basis.
  • Some employees may have to devote the same working hours, which will increase the company’s overtime pay.

The implementation of the four-day work system will also reduce the competitiveness of the company, because other companies usually conduct business from nine to five. This limits the time they can contact your company for business.

According to Pang, the best way to implement a four-day work week is to try new things and make mistakes.

“No one knows what other people are doing and can’t tell them how to do it in four days. You need to empower people to try new things, make mistakes, experiment and iterate.”

Manage time during a four-day work week

The key is to understand the difference between urgent tasks and important tasks.

Urgent task Those must be done today and tomorrow. Urgent tasks include phone calls, emails, appointments, and any other duties that must be handled as quickly as possible.

Important task These are the factors that help you achieve long-term success in the workplace. This includes planning for the future, brainstorming, launching new projects and conducting research.

To avoid confusion and complications, make sure everyone involved in the project and task is aware of deadlines and priorities.

Another way to make the most of the four-day work week is to use as much automation as possible. For example, if you are in a digital marketing business, prepare all email activities in advance and use email automation software to send emails and track interactions.

In order to maintain maximum productivity during the four days your team is working, try to reduce the number of meetings that your team should attend or shorten the meeting time. This will help everyone focus on only talking about the task at hand.

Four-day work week in practice

One company that has been very successful in adopting the four-day work system is The Wanderlust Group. After the spontaneous decision to “cancel Monday”, the company witnessed employer benefits for working four days a week.

In an interview with CNBCWanderlust Group CEO said, “The company’s total merchandise processing in the second quarter increased by 136% year-on-year, and bookings in the second quarter increased by 100% year-on-year.”

Another example is the social media management platform Buffer. Buffer adopted a four-day work schedule in May 2020.

Since putting it into practice, Joel Gascoigne, CEO and co-founder of Buffer, Report “The extra day is built in reflection time, and we usually don’t make room to solve the problem.”

Gascoigne added that purpose is very important. “In the precious four days, we need to be motivated to do great work.”

The London platform launched a Four-day work week activities Study the possible impact of shortening the work week on society. They found that even without considering the social and mental health benefits of working four days a week, the environment would also benefit.

The report states“By 2025, changing to working four days a week without loss of wages can reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 127 million tons per year. This means a reduction of 21.3% and exceeds the entire carbon footprint of Switzerland. “

Since we are a society that is increasingly concerned about climate change, working four days a week seems to be a logical step in the right direction.

in conclusion

The success of the four-day work system lies not only in the benefits it provides to employees. It also lies in the way it benefits employers. Can you imagine what would be different if your employee retention rate increased significantly? Or do you benefit from higher employee satisfaction?

To learn more about the philosophy of the four-day work system and how the company can benefit from it, be sure to listen to the entire Team Building Save the World Podcast With Alex Pang.

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