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Considering a 4-Day Workweek – Read This First

As a result of the pandemic, the job market has become a job seeker’s paradise, with many candidates seeking out and demanding workplace flexibility. But, of course, flexibility means different things to different people. To some, it’s being able to work from home 100% of the time. To others, it might be a competitive paid leave policy. But what about a 4-day workweek? This unique benefit might not be as trendy as others but can be a great way to distinguish a business from its competition.

A 4-day workweek can mean working 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, or working 35 hours over 4 days as a full-time employee. And there are pros and cons to following a schedule like this. Not only will your career be impacted, but so can your personal life.

PROS

  1. Increased Productivity – When switching to a 4-day workweek, more often than not, companies saw an increase or the same amount of productivity in 4 days as 5. A Stanford study proved that overworked employees are actually less productive than employees working an average working week, showing that it doesn’t mean the more days you work, the more you get done. Microsoft mirrored this when they found a 40% increase in productivity when switching to a 4-day workweek.
  2. Happier Employees – Think about having one extra day a week for your own personal use. Having the additional time to decompress, rest, or recharge means that employees should be less stressed and, as a result, less likely to take sick time. Also, offering a 4-day workweek becomes a unique benefit to attract top talent because not all companies can compete.
  3. Reduced Overhead – As an employer, switching to a 4-day workweek can save money by reducing total costs. One less workday means one less day of energy and electricity on the company’s dime. This also includes office supplies and janitorial services. And remember, if employees take fewer sick days, as mentioned above, that leads to less costs for the employer.

CONS

  1. Customer Service Effectiveness – Having one less day of work per week per employee means the customer service you were able to provide 5 days a week can’t be the same without adjustments being made. This means possibly investing in chatbots or other technology that can help keep customers taken care of and business running as usual.
  2. Tired Employees – Although employees might be on the clock only 4 days a week, some end up working all 5. Specific jobs need a certain number of hours, or days, to complete, especially if the 4-day workweek results in reduced hours. If hourly workers end up putting in more time to get the job done anyways, companies might be stuck paying overtime.
  3. Team Management Challenges – Depending on how the 4-day workweek is set up, managers could be in a situation that makes managing even more challenging. If managers are faced with employee days off being scattered, it makes it tough to set up team meetings or manage particular projects. If your company follows the scattered 4-day workweek, this may also lead to employees checking in on their days off to make sure they aren’t missing anything. A good manager will intervene and remind employees to step away on their day off to help them avoid burnout.

Is a 4-day workweek something you’re interested in or have been a part of in the past or presently? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out What Productivity Looks Like Post Pandemic.

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