The 4-day work week is becoming increasingly common, and it’s clear to see. All you have to do is look at how many companies are using it. Its commonality is so striking that it would be easy to make the argument that it may become the standard, as the 5-day week currently is. But how likely is this?
In this article, we will take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of the 4-day week and see if it’s as valuable and worthwhile as purported.
Many companies have attempted it, so the results are well publicized. The same is true for the disadvantages. For instance, BuildRemote conducted a comprehensive study that included the responses of over 500 business leaders and 2,000 employees, all of who have transitioned to the 4-day work week.
The study indicates that over two-thirds (64%) of the 4-day workweek companies reported an uptick in staff productivity, as well as an improvement in the quality of the work produced. You could chalk this up to a number of factors, but it’s likely that the three-day weekend, combined with a less intensive working week, boosted their morale, leading to a more productive schedule.
This leaves 36% of the companies that may have seen no change. But the 4-day workweek study reveals a plethora of other benefits besides productivity. It’s worth noting that other studies by Stanford University discovered that overworked employees are less productive, so if you’re only worried about productivity, this should be enough to get you thinking.
A study by Perpetual Guardian found that employees maintained the same level of productivity as a 5-day week, and experienced more job satisfaction, collaboration, and a balanced life. All of this combined creates higher staff morale, making your company a desirable one to work for. This leads to other benefits such as higher staff retention.
A happier team increases the likelihood of employee retention. This is due to employees having more time to decompress outside of work, generally being less stressed, and not as wholly consumed by their office lights.
In terms of the stats, a whopping 70% of companies in the report by RemoteBuild found that they could recruit and retain older employees for longer, and 71% of them found the same for employees with children or other caring responsibilities. In the same vein, 60% of companies found that they could retain younger employees too.
This would indicate that retention is generally increased by the 4-day week, and that is the case for a multigenerational workforce.
It’s one of many benefits of a modern workplace: one which allows employers to remain competitive in their future-proofing endeavors. The 4-day week is something that many organizations are considering as part of their future planning.
Moreover, a 4-day week also makes your company desirable to people looking for jobs. It’s a subsidiary perk that shines a light on your organization. The report backs this up through a 63% rate of companies claiming that the 4-day week helped them to attract and retain the right talent.
If you're looking for other ways to spruce up the deal for new potential employees, get creative. You could try additional time off or recurring team lunches.
Switch to the 4-day week, and you will decrease your carbon footprint. This is due to less commuting, therefore, fewer carbon emissions (a BIG source of the carbon footprint!). Also, it reduces the energy usage of office buildings. Conversely, if you're the only company using this policy, it’s still good to know that you're doing everything possible to limit your environmental impact.
When it comes to the 4-day workweek pros and cons, there appear to be more pros than cons. But this is because we are focusing on it from the perspective of the employees. The drawbacks come in when we shift our point-of-view to that of the customers and clients, who are now unable to get in touch with you on one extra day of the week. Does this negatively impact your customer perspective, and are they likely to leave you a bad review?
Also, if your business is a customer-facing one, it might not be a feasible endeavor. Like many facets of running a business, it works for some industries better than others.
Consider how additional time off from work, especially for employees who might be struggling with motivation, could lead to increased productivity in the long run. Even setting up half-days every now and then is a good idea. This is because it allows staff to leave early or socialize with colleagues before leaving. This breaks the day up and helps them to wind down before going home.
You can even just try a 4-day work week one week at a time i.e, a “pilot test”. Either that, or do a survey to collect ideas or insights from staff. This can increase productivity while giving time back to them. Whatever you do, there are plenty of ways to align your workplace experience with what your employees find important.
Whether or not the 4-day week works for your company will depend on the nature of your business and industry. If it’s a customer-facing enterprise, then the 4-day week might have more practical hurdles than a different business. Ergo, it’s not for everybody. Changing your entire business to a 4-day model is not necessarily realistic, but the benefits from all these studies can become seeds that you can plant on the journey to creating a new environment.
While a 4-day work week takes a lot of consideration, there are other, more immediate ways that you can create an attractive workplace. To that end, consider implementing recurring employee meals for everybody. It’s simple, supports local businesses, and can be done in just a few clicks.