In a world where the traditional 9-to-5 workweek has long been the norm, a transformative shift is on the horizon. The concept of a 4-day workweek is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it may soon become mainstream. As we navigate an era of technological advancements, changing work dynamics, and a growing emphasis on work-life balance, the idea of working fewer days while maintaining or even increasing productivity is capturing the attention of both employees and employers.
On a recent podcast HR tech analyst Josh Bersin asked this very question. “So what is up with the five-Day work week? Most people believe that a four-day week means taking 40 hours of work and doing it in thirty-two hours. And what used to happen in most companies that tried this, and a lot of companies tried this in the 1970s and the 1980s was the people got burned out and they said, look, I'm doing the same amount of work. I can't come in as much time, so now I'm working in the evenings. No thanks.”
He calls the new approach “work time reduction”. It's really about eliminating the wasted effort, the wasted time, the miscommunication, the lack of clarity, the lack of accountability that wastes time at work.
He continued to say it allows people to be more clear on who's accountable for what, jettison work that is not producing value or perhaps just getting in the way and be clearer with people about their outcomes and their performance and their productivity. And the reason it has such high outcomes is that people feel better when they know they're getting something done when they have free time. And the less time you have, the more focus you get on your work.
Benefits of the 4 Day Workweek
Increased Productivity and Efficiency:
The belief that longer hours equate to greater productivity is being challenged. Studies have shown that reducing the workweek to four days can lead to increased efficiency during the working hours. With employees experiencing improved focus and a sense of urgency, tasks are often completed in a shorter timeframe, leaving more time for rest and rejuvenation.
Enhanced Work-Life Balance:
The demand for a better work-life balance has never been more pronounced. Employees are increasingly valuing time spent outside of the office, whether it's pursuing personal interests, spending quality time with family, or simply enjoying moments of leisure. Adopting a 4-day workweek acknowledges the importance of a balanced life and promotes employee well-being.
Attraction and Retention of Talent:
In an era where attracting and retaining top talent is a key organizational goal, offering a 4-day workweek can be a game-changer. Companies that prioritize the well-being of their employees are more likely to attract skilled professionals who seek a workplace that aligns with their values and supports a healthy work-life integration.
Advancements in Technology:
Technological innovations have reshaped the way we work, allowing for increased flexibility and remote collaboration. As remote work becomes more prevalent, the need for a rigid five-day office week diminishes. Cloud-based tools, virtual meetings, and collaborative platforms enable employees to maintain productivity regardless of their physical location.
Positive Impact on Mental Health:
The mental health implications of overworking are well-documented. A 4-day workweek can alleviate stress and burnout, leading to improved mental well-being among employees. By acknowledging the importance of time away from work, organizations contribute to a healthier and more engaged workforce.
The 4-day workweek is no longer a utopian concept but a realistic and attainable goal for forward-thinking organizations. As we embrace a future where flexibility, well-being, and productivity coexist, the traditional workweek is evolving. Companies that adapt to these changing dynamics stand to benefit from increased employee satisfaction, enhanced productivity, and a positive corporate culture.
Young people entering the workforce today are going to live into their hundreds. They're going to have careers that span 60 to 70 years. They don't need to rush to get promoted. Of course, if you want to live your life like that, you certainly can go work for an investment bank or aspire to get promoted very, very quickly, but you don't need to. And so this idea of being more productive and giving people more flexibility is very, very important to younger workers.
The rise of the 4-day workweek represents a promising step towards a more harmonious and fulfilling work environment, and it's a trend that is likely to shape the future of work for years to come.
If we think about employees as empowered individuals with the training and skills and support to do their jobs as they see fit, using the idea of job crafting where an individual takes the responsibility and executes it in the form that they think is best without being micromanaged, then a four day week or a more flexible schedule where we reduce the number of hours people spend per week is a great idea.
We hope that more companies can start to see the advantages of the 4 day work week.