There has been a lot of talk lately about whether more organizations should go to a four-day workweek. From my experience as someone who has worked a four-day workweek for several years, I have seen the advantages firsthand.
This type of workweek is typically accomplished through four 10-hour shifts. Some companies are even going to a 32-hour workweek by having employees work only eight hours per day during the four-day workweek.
If employee benefits and pay are reduced due to a four-day workweek, it is likely to have an adverse impact on job satisfaction, which can lead to a lot of problems for the employer. However, if employees maintain the same level of productivity as a 40-hour workweek and receive the same compensation, a four-day workweek may have substantial benefits to the employer and employee.
According to CBS News, the state of Maryland recently introduced a bill for a four-day workweek. This bill would subsidize employers who experiment with a 32-hour workweek without reducing the weekly pay of full-time employees, based on what they receive during a 40-hour workweek.
The experiment will test whether employees can maintain the same level of productivity in a 32-hour workweek. CBS News also notes that employers must participate in the program for at least a year and no more than two years.
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Four-Day Workweek
While a four-day workweek would make for longer workdays than the traditional eight-hour workday, it would provide employees with more flexibility and three full days off each week. This change could potentially increase employee morale, increased productivity and employee job satisfaction.
Another advantage of the four-day workweek is reduced commuting expenses. According to WJXT News, a nonprofit called 4 Day Week Global and researchers from several universities conducted a six-month study to compare the effectiveness of a four-day workweek compared to a five-day workweek.
According to WJXT News, the study found that employee productivity increased with a four-day workweek. In fact, all of the 27 companies that participated in the study planned to remain with a four-day workweek.
WJXT News also noted that workers in the four-day workweek reported lower stress levels and fatigue. Company revenue also increased, compared to the previous year that utilized a five-day workweek. If employees are more satisfied with a four-day workweek and productivity increases, then a four-day workweek is likely to result in better employee retention and customer engagement by employees.
There are some potential disadvantages to a four-day workweek, however. Since employees are expected to maintain the same productivity as they would in a five-day workweek, stress and burnout can occur if they feel overwhelmed meeting their obligations in a different type of workweek. Working longer days can also result in scheduling conflicts and time management challenges.
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How Organizations Can Create a Four-Day Workweek
Planning, coordination with supervisors and a time management plan are essential for this type of workweek to be productive. Employees should be mentally prepared to work slightly harder on the four days with the reward of having three full days off.
Technology is also an important aspect of a four-day workweek. Tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams can increase productivity through virtual meetings and time management while employees work their shifts.
Ultimately, a four-day workweek typically means that employees have a three-day weekend each week. That creates more time for their families, volunteering, self-care and caring for others, which could prove highly popular among an organization’s employees.
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