4-day Workweeks are the Future – And this is How You Can Make Them Happen

Lift your head up from your desk and take a look around the office. Is the number of people at work today the same as yesterday? Probably not. Across the world, standard workweeks are already taking new shape and the United States is jumping on the bandwagon with Summer Friday initiatives and flexible hour scheduling. It won’t be long before all of corporate America adopts four-day workweeks to increase productivity and boost company morale, while minimizing the risk of burnout and business profit loss. Setting up shorter workweeks was a hot topic turned dream pursuit and now, it’s steadily becoming a reality. It appears to be the solution to perfecting work/life harmony in a labor market where modern employees crave ownership over their schedules and greater social freedom to experience, you know …life. The new workplace has already edged itself into a state of flexibility that gifts employees the opportunity to work remotely, use paid time off guilt-free, and come early or late depending on the time of day their brain functions best. Four-day workweeks are the natural next step and just may be the solution to both depleted productivity levels and the onset of burnout. Oh, and trust me: no one is disputing that the hourly adjustment wouldn’t come with some kinks to work out. The benefits of the four-day workweek far surpass that short, uncomfortable time period of transition and it’s undeniably favorable to all incoming work generations.  Is a shorter workweek the key to happiness? I know what you’re thinking: if we give employees an inch, they’ll eventually take a mile. It starts with a four-day workweek that turns into three, and then two, then maybe even none. A study published in the Social Science and Medicine Journal by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Salford that shows that a one-day workweek reduces mental health issues by 30 percent. To be perfectly frank, a one-day workweek isn’t sustainable or practical for any company, especially not a high-growth startup with the relative competition. Although, the cutback on standard work hours and its effect on employee happiness shouldn’t be discounted.  Companies should keep in mind that a four-day workweek implies their commitment to mental wellbeing in the workplace, allowing employees to dial back external stress or pressure they would now be able to manage on a Friday or another day of the week.  In 2000, the BLS began recording what’s known as the quits rate, and the number of employee quits has increased for nine consecutive years. This year, an estimated 40 percent of people will quit their job. It pays to keep your people happy and let’s be honest; a thriving state of mental health is invaluable. Companies need to prioritize their employees’ happiness and the numbers make a convincing case for shorter workweeks as the antidote to burnout and a cyclical quitting economy.  How can companies switch to four-day workweeks?  You’ve seen the stats, and now you’re convinced! It’s time for a four-day workweek to get your people pumped and productive. The transition process might be a bit bumpy, so you need to formulate a plan of action that effectively changes your employees’ schedule without upsetting or inconveniencing them.  Scaling up can be done smoothly. For companies looking to adopt a four-day workweek policy, it’s best to initiate the new schedule by shortening weeks in the summer. Those companies who still operate at full capacity can integrate more remote or part-time employees if there are excessive or unexpected quarterly goals to be met. Regardless of the tight labor market, vacancies will be easier…

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